Islands Brygge, Copenhagen
2013 - 2016
A little house in the city
The Building Society house 2.0
The classic Danish Building Society houses, as we know them from Copenhagen’s so-called Potato Rows (Kartoffelrækkerne) and Hops City (Humleby), contain obvious qualities, including their built-in flexibility, welcoming setting and human scale: low-rise, high-density with good conditions for community building. The Harbour Cove (Havnevigen) development by Islands Brygge in Copenhagen offered an opportunity to realize Vandkunsten’s idea for an updated version of the Building Society houses.
In addition to their liveability qualities, the Harbour Cove City Houses (Byhusene) also meet the specific challenge presented by the local planning requirement of unusually high building coverage. The result is a development that is even denser than, for example, the Potato Rows.
The parallels to the traditional Building Society houses from the early 20th century are obvious, with clear spatial divisions and distinct boundaries between private and public areas. The design of the City Houses is quite different, however. We have added a range of variations, including balconies and set-back entrance sections. These adjustments aim to enhance the utilitarian value of the home for the modern family.
One of the characteristics of the City Houses is their relative distribution, as the individual floors are staggered by half a flight of stairs. This enables partially integrated parking underneath the house and atrium. This solution offers direct access from the underground car park to the home, which is not only convenient but also makes it possible to avoid street-side parking. Thus, the shared access space is upgraded to a useful communal living space.
Like a broken-in leather jacket
The new and pristine is rarely a prized quality in architecture. Homes are a setting for life, and lived life shapes and adds character to the space where it unfolds. In the City Houses, we have made wide use of wood and recycled bricks, which adds striking textural qualities and gives the houses a lived-in feel from day one.
Private outdoor living in a high-density development
The principle of the staggered floors gives every house a private roof terrace. This compensates for the high density by giving all residents access to a private outdoor space, where they can always find sun or shelter. Since the houses vary between two and three storeys, the height is used to delimit the roof terraces and preserve the residents’ privacy.
The houses all have the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. Among other benefits, the client’s ambitious decision to secure this certification has led to the use of materials that contribute to a healthy indoor climate. It also inspired the use of 700,000 recycled bricks on the facades. Recycling is good for the environment, and the patinated brickwork adds character and gives the facades a distinctive expression.
Project name: The City Houses (Byhusene)
Location: Islands Brygge, Copenhagen
Gross area: 173.000 m²
Date: 2013 - 2016
Number of units: 110
Program: Private homes
Activity: Architectural design
Job type: Turnkey
Construction system: Prefab concrete, masonry facades from reused brick.
Contact: Jan Albrechtsen, email@example.com
Employees: Ingibjörg Benediktsdóttir
Engineer: NCC Construction
Contractor: NCC Construction