Europan 10 . THE CITY GROVE . Aarhus

source: Europan . Adept

Aarhus is expected to grow by 75.000 new inhabitants by 2030. The site is located in Lisbjerg, 6 km north of central Aarhus. With a future of 25.000 inhabitants and a direct connection to central Aarhus through a new light-rail, the development of Lisbjerg is destined to become an important part of the future of the Aarhus region.
The site will be a showcase development representing the future values of the entire area; Sustainability, density, accessibility, diversity, architectural quality and close relations to the existing natural and cultural values of the area are primary factors.


A common belief about sustainable developments is, that reducing our co2 emission means reducing our contemporary living standards. In order to create a broad support for the common goal of reducing co2 emissions we as designers, need to create strategies that will help change this misconception. We need to create visions, which illustrates that environmental sustainability can create fantastic new dwellings, cities and landscapes and in the meantime help solve the global climate crisis.
Today, a large number of tools like British BREEAM are used to develop and evaluate sustainable projects. These are intelligent tools that consider a broad range of aspects in developing sustainable areas; however the generic composition of the tools makes it impossible for them to incorporate specific contextual potentials and prioritise the aspects in a given context. In other words - the parameters of these tools describe general qualities that can be added to most projects at any phase. Often these measures are added in a late phase which leaves the sustainable measures without any direct coherence or connections to the specific context in which they are added. This approach will often result in a removal of a large part of the sustainable measures, when evaluated with other aspects of the project. They are removed since they do not offer any qualities to the immediate surroundings and they are easy to take away because they are not an inherent part of the project.
To make environmental sustainability more attractive and avoid that these elements are scraped off in the process of implementation, we need to create contextual specific projects where environmental sustainability is an integrated part of the conceptual development from the very beginning. By creating visions and offering images of how environmental sustainability potentially can help create fantastic landscapes, we as architects, can help create a broad support for sustainability and thereby accelerate the development of a sustainable future.


Postmodern society has since the 1960's been focused on getting away from what was seen as a suffocating and schematic form of collectivism. However after half a decade of an individualisation of everything from transport to public space, the environmental crisis once again raises the question of the collective. The question today would then be: How can we create a new form of collectivism, which enables us to address climate change, without eliminating space for individual expression?
The usual strong ideology and set of shared rules, which defines the objectives and framework for a community are today no longer suitable. A contemporary community needs to be something that residents can opt into or out of. Privacy in one's own home and in outdoor areas is a primary requirement in medium density contemporary dwellings.
We are participating in Europan 10 at the Lisbjerg site, because we see the combination of the ambitious climate strategy of the city and the intention of creating collective housing in prefabricated wood as a perfect condition to promote the above-mentioned approaches.
Our project holds a strong sustainable and contextual identity unfolded through a series of strategies, which ensures an individual and diverse form of collectivism.
By using a series of outwardly coherent but inwardly diverse units as enormous flowerpots for trees, we propose a contemporary sustainable village.The development is based on urban qualities from the existing village, yet holds a new skyline typology composed of different trees, which offers a unique neighbourhood identity.
The flowerpots are placed on top of the structural/technical core of the units. This will not only create extremely well isolated roofs and "actual" green gardens on the top (not just terraces), but it will make it structurally and spatially (in terms of the roots) possible to carry trees of a substantial size.
A series of traditional suburban gardens elevated to make room for social space in between the buildings, will offer a panoramic view over the surrounding distinctive hilly landscape-an important distinctive value for future residents of the neighbourhood. Apart from upgrading life quality and reducing the need for drainage, the green roofs actively support the biodiversity of the area.

By organising and combining dwellings that vary in typology, size and function, the project aims at creating a mixed community, which suggests a direction in developing new solutions for the increasing problem of urban segregation. The project is designed as a graded community that offers a variety of housing types and sizes, inviting different residents across various phases of social situation, education, economic status and age. Futures users can chose between 3 different typologies and many different layouts of homes.
Studies show that people are happy to live next to a neighbour, which has a slightly but not entirely different social status. Within this understanding, the 3 types are organised to accommodate the largest degree of difference within the relatively small site; Villa's next to row houses next to condominiums next to row houses. By organising the dwellings with a more dense and high centre, we are not only creating diverse ways of living within the site, we are also offering very good conditions for the different dwellings to enjoy the beautiful view of the surrounding landscape.
Within the larger neighbourhood, smaller communities are created around shared gardens.The social groups around the gardens have the inhabitant size of a small street in the suburb or an apartment building in the city. These smaller communities allow a different and closer connection than the larger neighbourhood.The communal gardens are owned and maintained by the surrounding buildings.
The access to the house is placed facing the communal garden thereby emphasizing the connection to your specific community. Around the communal garden you know the name of your neighbours and you share everyday activities like dining in the shared garden, taking care of each other's kids and maintaining the shared garden.
The structure of each unit consists of a prefab facade elements and a technical core. This allows an entirely flexible layout of inner walls to create a number of different dwelling layouts and it makes it very easy to change the layout over time.
A series of rentable units distributed in relation to each communal garden will make it possible to have shared functions and to add and subtract space from your house in an easy and economical way. The shared unit can service the entire neighbourhood becoming laundry, a bicycle repair garage, a recycling station, a childcare facility, a workshop, a shared office or a gym with yoga and fitness facilities. The communal facilities save resources and facilitate informal and unplanned meetings between people from the different smaller neighbourhoods. The shared unit can also be leased individually working as an atelier, a home office, a teen unit or a grandparent unit. This allows the inhabitants to adapt their dwelling according to changing needs.
The flexibility of the plan, the diversity of typologies and the additional shared units offer tailor fitted dwelling solutions for different people and changing needs. One could imagine; a family living in a villa, with a teenager or a grandma living in the next door shared unit, two families living in a separated network house with a shared kitchen on the ground floor, single's living privately in the condominium apartments meeting each other at the rooftop, friends/students living in a shared network house and numerous other ways of living.
The development reflects contemporary ways of engaging in co-housing schemes and the need for individuality and privacy at home. The intention is to give the possibilities to engage in social life and activities or to choose intimacy and privacy.
Buildings in different heights and sizes are organized around semi-public communal gardens. Private space is offered through creating private rooftop gardens, elevating the private rooms and incorporating flexible facade shutters.Entrances will orientate towards the shared terraces and more private functions will be placed on first and second floor.
In the villas and in the network houses the private rooms are located on the first floor and the more public oriented rooms are located on the ground floor. In the condominium apartments the dwellings with direct access from the street are organised in two floors to allow elevated privacy. The 2nd and 3rd floor apartment functions as smaller one-floor apartments.

The site plan features an intricate network of paths, which connects to the surrounding trails, ensuring easy access for pedestrians and bicycles to Bygaden and to public transportation. The paths gives access to all dwellings and will also work as fire routes within the area.
The organisation of the houses creates intimate village streets always bending around a new corner offering a new interesting experience. The zigzag movement through the area will create slower traffic through the area.
A central road makes a loop within the site giving direct access to most of the dwellings. Parking is organised partly along the side of the road and partly combined with recreational facilities as basket, foosball and soccer taking place when the area is not used for parking. This enables the parking area to grow and shrink according to needs without being a dominant part of plan.
The green town common located north of the area serves as a hinge between the'old district'and the new development. Furthermore it provides a path linking the different areas to each other and to the sports area in the forest. The northern part of the site is a more green and less cultivated part of the site where only a few trails leads to distributed villas overlooking the town common. In-between the villas, fruit trees are dispersed in a random pattern, which continues into the town common.
The road and the recreational functions along it becomes the main public character in the central part of the site creating a more urban feeling. This area consists of a combination of condominiums and double houses.
The southern green wedge is suggested as ecological miniature fields-a concept that could extend over the wedges of the larger area. Inhabitants of the neighbourhoods maintain allotment gardens and fruit orchards and public paths runs in between the mini fields allowing a free flow through the wedges. On the site the units again become more dispersed leaving space for the allotment gardens of the wedge to extent into the site. The units in this area mainly consist of network houses.
The east landscape wedge is connected through paths and provides a recreational area with a stream of excess rainwater running along the wedge.

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