Sky Village . Rødovre

more: MVRDV . ADEPT . source: architizer 

The demand for a new tower in Rødovre, the near periphery of Copenhagen, raises the issue as to what kind of tower should be added to the skyline of the capital. Should it be a sphere, a spire, a cube? And is it only form that counts? Can one imagine a tower that is more than merely form-driven? What content can be given to the new tower? Can it criticize and improve the somewhat commercial and hollow iconic architectural developments of the last years?

After several booming years, the recent Danish real estate economy is relatively unstable and unclear. Right now, the housing market is slowing down, and developments focus more towards office-space. That demands, particularly in places like Rødovre, situated between Copenhagen and the eastern countryside, for a new concept for the upcoming buildings. One that shows flexibility. Where offices can easily be transformed into housing - and vice versa. Where smaller units can be transformed into bigger ones - and vice versa. How to realise this flexibility?

By creating a tower that is a grid structure with a minimal pixel size, any configuration can be imagined and filled in. The grid-size of 7.8 x 7.8 m combines a good parking grid, a proper housing unit and office type (a unit of 7.8 x 7,8 x 4 m, approx. 60 m2 or 240 m3), that can easily accommodate a large variety of tenants, e.g. young people that want to live close to the city and starters in the office market. Small offices and home offices… a vertical SOHO! The units, or pixels, can also be joined together to form larger spaces to accommodate larger apartments, hotel rooms or offices. A sustainable structure arises. As well as a mixed use building!

The grid has been organized around a central core with lifts, stairs and shafts.The central core is divided in three individual cores that individually serve the apartments, the offices and the hotel and restaurant. A corridor surrounds these cores so any access-composition in the plan is possible. Around the core a two-bay (or -pixel) band has been positioned, 15,6 meters wide. It allows for deeper offices with cells and meeting rooms, and for deeper houses, or public functions like for example a library or a conference space.

The result is a cube of 46.8 x 46.8 x 48 meters. By varying the infill, less deep offices and houses can be created. This leads to more facades, and thus more light and views. When doing that on every floor in a different way, a specific composition of terraces and balconies can be made. This process has been organized by ‘pulling away’ pixels out of the cube, and repositioning them on top.

By pulling away many pixels on the ground and lower floors, a more open plaza is created, while keeping some program on ground floor for lobbies and shops. By stacking the units more towards the northern side on top of the cube a taller building emerges with sunnier terraces with views to Copehagen city centre, Skåne, and the rest of the region. By opening the cube in the middle, a series of covered terraces is created to allow for communal outdoor areas for offices or public functions. With the repositioning act a variety of interiors and exteriors is created.

This leads to a vertical, pixelated ‘rock’ of unit types; a character-full element that goes beyond the form-driven iconic exercises of the last years. It relates to the spires of the old city centre, and it relates to nature or a cloud. But more so to the direct environment: it combines the character of the surrounding low-rise housing estates with the strong appearance of the blocks next to the main street. The shape of the volume minimizes impact of shadows to the surrounding houses and without blocking the views on ground level. A vertical village thus comes alive. A sky village.

The columns are clad with cast-aluminium panels. In between the columns, an infill of glass doors is proposed. It serves both domestic and office purposes: individualized usages, natural ventilation, and maximum visibility from the sky towards the grounds. Each element can be opened in two ways, rotating vertically and horizontally, which allows for maximum flexibility in floor plan. Where needed stability elements are diagonally positioned behind the façade.

The tower continues underground with some small shops, the plant rooms and a parking garage. By using the identical pixel-unit sizes, the plaza obtains the same qualities and character as the rest of the tower. As if the tower is ‘emerging’ from the ground.

This mixed use concept also demands for a mixed environment. It has lead both to a formal plaza with shopping for the inhabitants and lunch-hour-restaurants for the office workers on the one hand and on the other to a play jungle with the longest bench on earth to mix children and parents with people at work or the elderly. The bench surrounds a protected play area, an outdoor fitness area for elderly citizens and picnic zones. The green zone contradicts in a comfortable way with its urban surroundings and revives the pedestrian environment.

Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries
Fokke Moerel, Joanna Gasparski and Noemie Cristobal

co-architect: ADEPT Aps: Anders Lonka, Martin Krogh and Martin Laursen with Kurt Øhlenslæger, Mia Kristensen, Stefania Sacco, Bruno Dias, Yang and Juan Carlos, Denmark
Engineers: Søren Jensen Rådgivende Ingeniørfirma with Anders Peter Galsgaard and Frank Jensen, Denmark and ABT bv with Rob Nijsse, the Netherlands
Modelmaker: Made by Mistake with Dick, the Netherlands

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