Dortheavej Apartment

Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Year: 2018
Number of Units: 66 units
Number of Levels: 5 levels
Private Outdoor Space Density: 42% / unit = 16.5 units/ac  

Dortheavej Residence by Bjarke Ingel is a housing development in Copenhagen consisting of prefabricated modules stacked on top of each other. In the north-west of the city centre, just over 4 km from the town hall, this is an interesting area, just below the Bispebjerg and Nordvest cemeteries, with both old apartment buildings and new apartment developments, with a trunk of old industrial buildings on both sides Road, to the west, just outside the site, is low-rise suburban housing.

Dortheavej Apartments by Bjarke Ingles - Sheet1
Homes for All- Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group_©Rasmus Hjortshõj

The brief called for the creation of much-needed affordable housing and public space, while maintaining the site’s existing pedestrian access and leaving the adjacent green courtyard untouched.

It built 66 new dwellings for low-income residents ranging from 60 to 115 square metres.

Dortheavej Apartments by Bjarke Ingles - Sheet2
Curve – The system defines a courtyard for the urban block and introduces a public square towards the street_©Archdaily

The form of the block is a long, gentle and sinuous curve back away from the street towards the centre but hard against the pavement at each end with the area in front planted with grass and trees. There is a high and wide archway through to the back of the building at the point where that curve is furthest back from the street.

Dortheavej Apartments by Bjarke Ingles - Sheet3
Social Realm – The system combines a valuable public space with social housing units optimally oriented_Archdaily

The building is conceived as a perforated wall, gently curving at its centre, creating space for a public plaza on the south side and an intimate green courtyard on the north side. At street level, the building opens up to allow both residents and the public to access the courtyard.

Dortheavej Residence is located in northwest Copenhagen, which BIG describes as an area characterized by industrial buildings from the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

To fit in, BIG opted for a simple material palette consisting of balsa wood and unfinished concrete.

Dortheavej Apartments by Bjarke Ingles - Sheet4
Stack- The element is stacked along the curve creating interstitial spaces that face yard and square_©Archdaily

The stacking creates additional space for each apartment, with a small patio, providing an environment for healthy, sustainable living. On the sunny south side, the balconies shrink and add depth to the facade, while on the north side, the facade is even.

Dortheavej Apartments by Bjarke Ingles - Sheet5
Homes for All- Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group_©Rasmus Hjortshõj

Large floor-to-ceiling windows in the apartment allow plenty of daylight into the unit and allow views outside into the green courtyard and surrounding community.

Dortheavej Apartments by Bjarke Ingles - Sheet6
Homes for All- Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group_©Rasmus Hjortshõj

The stacking of the prefab elements increases the height of the room by one meter for each second module, making the kitchen-living area exceptionally spacious.

Homes for All- Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group_©Rasmus Hjortshõj

In Dortheavej, with windows at the back of the building, large open grass and services, including car-parks, the square division of the front façade is repeated, but more simply expressing the very shallow back and forth trampling element it looks more Like a chessboard in bas-relief. It sounds like a bluff of praise, but it actually makes the façade look honest and straightforward, yet still expresses the internal arrangements and divisions, but avoids the grim, cliff-like backside of most modern neighbourhoods.

Circulation through the building is achieved through stacked return stairs, with two units per floor. On the ground floor, doors open to the street and courtyard, allowing a straight path from the street through the unit to the courtyard.

Modular units are used to produce multiple unit types on each floor. On the first floor, studios and one-bed units alternate around circulation spaces, while on the second floor, two types of two-bedroom apartments are grouped like a puzzle throughout the building. The transitional unit typology at the end of the centre is the result of the curved plan and stepped nature of the west side of the building.

The clear and neat articulation of the design facing the street and the timber on the façade creates the impression of a regular set of large wooden boxes that are stacked from corner to corner with the space between the glass set back again to form a balcony.

Image, Livability, Durability 

– Floor-to-ceiling glazing and alternating balconies on the southern front of the apartment provide natural ventilation, daylighting and exterior views.

 – The north façade is designed to convey the repetition of solid and hollow configurations.

– The structure is made of modular construction and modest materials, allowing generous living spaces on an urban and residential scale.

– Interior and exterior spaces feature light-coloured wood and unfinished concrete, creating a sense of lightness and openness.

A standard trick here is to use interlocking L shapes for adjacent apartments that are reached from different stairs so that both have one great room spanning the entire width. One has a forward-facing room and the other has a rear-facing room, which has an internal bathroom. area in between.

From the 1920s and 1930s, such L-shaped interlocks are found in planning city apartment buildings, and the large central arch echoes the one that passed through Hostrups Have in 1936.

With this, it shows how much the architect knows and understands the history and conventions of urban housing, and is playing a successful game of form and style for the architectural typology of a theme of subtle and good change.

References:

  1. Designboom, P. S. I. (2018) Bjarke ingels group builds 66 affordable residences in copenhagen for low-income citizens, designboom | architecture & design magazine. Designboom. Available at: https://www.designboom.com/architecture/bjarke-ingels-group-big-dortheavej-low-income-housing-copenhagen-10-08-2018/ (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
  2. Heward, J. (no date) Bjarke ingels group — architecture —, danish architecture and design review. Available at: http://danishdesignreview.com/architecture/tag/Bjarke+Ingels+Group (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
  3. BIG (no date) Big.dk. Available at: https://big.dk/ (Accessed: July 10, 2022)

Images Citation: 

    1. Gallery of Homes for All – Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group – 1 (no date) ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/903495/homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group/5bbe6c78f197cc3c6a0000d3-homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group-photo?next_project=no (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
    2. Gallery of Homes for All – Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group – 22 (no date) ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/903495/homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group/5bbe6ca6f197cc3c6a0000d4-homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group-diagram?next_project=no (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
  • Gallery of Homes for All – Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group – 8 (no date) ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/903495/homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group/5bbe6cb1f197cc3c6a0000d5-homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group-photo?next_project=no (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
  1. Gallery of Homes for All – Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group – 21 (no date) ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/903495/homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group/5bbe6c8ff197ccecbc000063-homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group-diagram?next_project=no (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
  2. Gallery of Homes for All – Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group – 24 (no date) ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/903495/homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group/5bbe6cf2f197cc3c6a0000d8-homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group-diagram?next_project=no (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
  3. Gallery of Homes for All – Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group – 11 (no date) ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/903495/homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group/5bbe6d0ef197ccecbc000065-homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group-photo?next_project=no (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
  4. Gallery of Homes for All – Dortheavej Residence / Bjarke Ingels Group – 15 (no date) ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/903495/homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group/5bbe6e03f197cc3c6a0000e1-homes-for-all-dortheavej-residence-bjarke-ingels-group-photo?next_project=yes (Accessed: July 10, 2022).
Author

Akshita Gahlaut is an architect based in Delhi who strongly believes in the ability of the architecture and research combined with design thinking. She is an avid learner who has a penchant for understanding different fields within the architecture and aspires to promote sustainable development.

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