With its well-earned title of “World architecture capital”, there are even more reasons to visit Copenhagen in 2023. Besides the usual suspects, new experimental projects have arrived on Copenhagen’s architecture scene. In relation to the theme of this year’s UIAs congress “Sustainable futures: leave no one behind” and the Sustainable Development goals, fifteen pavilions were established in the city. In the south of Copenhagen, the architecture studio EFFEKT, engineering firm Artelia and the skylight manufacturing company Velux have joined forces to create one of those pavilions, called “Living places”. Scaledenmark is an official partner, offering architectural tours in and around these low-carbon houses and constructions.
The pavilion consists of a large tree deck with seven wooden buildings. Two buildings are prototypes of a single-family home, with a wooden facade and a tall, sloped roof. Here the interdisciplinary design team used three years to optimize the building method, all the while keeping the building cost low. The houses might look alike but differ amongst others in construction methods (CLT and timber frame) and ventilation (hybrid and natural). The carbon footprint of the houses is down to one third of the current Danish standard for a single-family house (12 kg CO2/m2/year).
The remaining five open constructions illustrate different forms of community building. If we want to live sustainably, decarbonization is not the only way. We will have to adapt to new ways of living, where common spaces embody certain functions of the dwelling, such as office space, extra guest room, fitness, etc. At the same time can they create identity for these new housing quarters.
Exhibiting innovative housing architecture
The common spaces are now used as exhibition spaces. Two exhibitions explain the pavilion itself and its broader context, the urban development plan for Jernbanebyen (“Railway city”, COBE, 2021). Another exhibition introduces Realdania’s “Housing lab”, which has chosen seven innovative housing projects which accommodate cohabiting constellations beyond the nuclear family. The pavilion itself and the exhibitions within are showing the building industry a way forward, responding to the socio-economic and ecological challenges we are facing today. Scaledenmark hopes to take as many industry professionals and policy makers on an architectural tour in and around Living places to inspire others to act as well.