Sunday, March 04, 2007

VM Housing - Orestad, Denmark

I was surfing, , and came along this project near Copenhagen. At first glance, the project looks almost hostile-- like steel and glass shards ready to cut passerbys. (That's probably my urban/public housing background bias talking..) After a more careful investigation, the layout shares little with the large American multi-family layouts from the 1950s. Considerably more attention is given to light, air, views (from the units), unit privacy, and even some personal outdoor space (via balconies) for some of the luckier inhabitants.

VM Housing (Orestad City, 2006) was a collaborative design by PLOT Architects (no longer in business). It's got interesting massing and interior layouts, an exterior that channels abstracted Rietveld, and the requisite modernist glass and steel curtainwall vocabulary. This project is part of a larger master planned multi-use development underway in Orestad over the next 17 or so years.

A brief description from the architects' website:
"The manipulated perimeter block is clearly defined in its four corners but opened intrenally and along the sides. The vis-a-vis with the neighbour is eliminated by pushing the slab in its center, ensuring diagonal views to the vast open fields around...All apartments have a double height space to the north, and wide panoramic views to the south. The logic of the diagonal slab utilized in the V house is broken down in smaller portions for the M house. In this project the typology of the unite d'habitation of Le Corbusier is reinterpreted and improved: the central corridors are short and get light from both ends, like bullet holes penetrating through the building."

PLOT Architects is now divided into two different firms: JDS Architects and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group)--both of whom have more info and photos on the VM project on their respective websites. A quick Google search yields some photos from the forum group "Skyscraper City - The Big Huge Copenhagen Orestad Thread Part 2", showing the complex under construction. Check those photos out as well.

Looks to be partially pre-fab, huh? Can anyone tell me if this is rental or affordable housing? And what is the cost per unit (monthly in comparable USD) ?

Be sure to also check out Buildings All Over the World Photo Pool. (A Flicker photo blog)

Too bad the high-rise condo boom in downtown Chicago isn't as interesting.