Houses in Viken
Viken, Sweden
2000 - 2001

Low-rise, high-den­sity ar­chi­tec­ture in Swedish

Allowing simple qualities to bloom

On the Kattegat coast, just north of the Swedish city of Helsingborg, lies the idyllic town of Viken. An old fishing hamlet, not dissimilar  to Skovshoved or Dragør in Denmark, places rich in local pride that attract visitors from near and far, who come here to experience the idyllic village atmosphere. Here, on a former school plot in the centre of town, Vandkunsten was commissioned to design a modern housing development with respect for the traditional setting.

Around the turn of the millennium, Vandkunsten had been working mainly with low-rise, high-density architecture in non-profit housing. At Viken, we had the opportunity to translate these basic principles into a private project commissioned by an ambitious client, the co-op housing association  HSB Västra Skåne.

The development consists of 58 homes. Traditional, simple types that could be sited just about anywhere. But right here, in this idyllic setting, they come into their own, with their uniform and coherent expression. The high density encourages interaction and meetings in the narrow alleys and passageways. Classic Vandkunsten dogmas, but also virtues that have been practised in the hamlet since the 17th century.

‘Viken is a good example of the ambition of the office to enmesh new construction into the existing setting, not in the sense that the architecture should be anonymous, but when the setting is taken into consideration and its best aspects are referred to, the greater whole is enhanced.’

– Flemming Ibsen, Architect MAA, partner

Village scale

A total of 58 houses are distributed on the former school plot in Viken. The planning is strongly inspired by the settlement pattern of the old fishing hamlet, with alleys, lanes and narrow passageways.

Low-rise, high-density architecture in Swedish

The development consists of two housing types: a single-volume rectangular house in two storeys and a double house in one and a half storey. The double-height rooms, the dark facades and the sharp, light zinc roofs form the defining features of the development.

A calm counterpoint to a variegated setting

The black slat fence starts on the terrain, encircles the small private gardens and is enmeshed all the way into the building. Similarly, the simple black exterior of the development seeks to integrate itself as a calm, low-key accent in an area that is already rich in character and variation.

Project facts


Project name: Houses in Viken

Category:Housing, Wood

Client: HSB Nordvästra Skåne

Location: Viken, Sweden

Date: 2000 - 2001


Program: Housing

Activity: Architecture and landscaping

Job type: Commission

Contact: Thomas Nybo Rasmussen,

Project group: Thomas Nybo Rasmussen, Flemming Ibsen


Architect: Vandkunsten Architects

Landscape: Vandkunsten Architects

Engineer: AB Jacobsen & Widmark, Helsingborg

Contractor: Midroc