Gomes . Viula

NEST- Sustainable Neighbourhood . Europan 11 . Allerod

courtesy of Jennifer Gomes (OPENLAB architects) + Raquel Viula

The Nest is a place for nature and nurture. It creates the conditions for a future-proof and sustainable neighbourhood by creating a diverse, accessible and energy-efficient environment for its future inhabitants.
The 600-home project is intended to extend the existing town of Blovstrød and act as a connecting link between Blovstrød and Lillerød, the municipality’s town centre. The main challenge to achieve that is the presence of a regional road between the project site and the old town, with a profile that is not in line with its connector role between the two parts. The project site is also surrounded by an impressive countryside, with a rich variety of large natural areas and paths.

Accessible neighbourhood
The connectivity between Nest, the two towns and the surrounding landscape is resolved by two road circuits. The scenic ring runs along two forests and promotes the contact with the existing landscape. The fast ring presents an alternative access to Lillerød by private and public transport, avoiding the fluxes along the regional road.
The street system within Nest establishes clear and direct links to Blovstrød and the forest. It is aligned with the existing streets to facilitate the movement across the regional road and to its amenities. It adapts to existing buildings and natural features while keeping its main structure and continuity. All streets follow a shared space concept, where the public space is equally shared by all transport modes and other public uses, giving priority to soft transport modes, walking and cycling.

Activity rich neighbourhood
Diversity within Nest is materialised in the definition of character areas. The high street is a local centre that extends the services area in Blovstrød. This improved centrality offers the potential for greater success to local retail and services thus reducing unnecessary long distance travel to all residents. The sports corridor offers opportunities for formal and informal sports practice. The jogging trail offers its users a rich experience by crossing a range of settings and simultaneously knitting the community together around a healthy activity. Communal and private urban agriculture areas provide part of the food necessary to sustain the population and the basis for an environmentally sound lifestyle. The green belt is a unifying green space extending existing forests and major green spaces. Two forest fingers bring nature to the core of the neighbourhood and create a buffer zone for the existing warehouse and the traffic it generates.

Energy-efficient neighbourhood
Nest is an energy-efficient neighbourhood. The high need for active heating is minimised by preventing convective heat loss due to wind and by good solar access. The green belt produces a useful wind shadow over the site and the courtyard buildings extend this effect creating a chain of open sheltered space. The building massing evolved from a cut and fill exercise based on solar geometry, to ensure passive solar gain to both existing and new buildings. Energy is provided solely by renewable sources. A small local wind farm along the scenic ring provides electricity and district CHP complemented by local geothermal heat pumps provides heating. Biomass for the CHP comes from a dedicated short-rotation coppice located in the green belt and from by-products of the local farming activity. Water is totally sourced locally. Stormwater and rainwater are collected and treated for domestic use, while household greywater is recycled for irrigation of the farmed land.

Socially diverse neighbourhood
The Nest offers a variety of activities and housing types to a mixed population. Five population groups were identified based on age, household size and profession, along with their preferred activities and daily needs in terms of urban agriculture, public transport, nature, sports, services and leisure. Each group is offered the opportunity to reside in an appropriate housing type located within walking distance of a combination of land uses to meet their needs. The catchment areas of these groups overlap considerably to create a mix of population groups and housing types in the same area.
The housing in Nest is arranged in perimeter blocks where the central courtyard alternates between public, private and semi-public to assure privacy to families but also create opportunities for meeting and communal living. The houses are structurally modular for cost-effectiveness and to provide the possibility of future layout modification. Modules are of various types and arranged in different ways according to the expected lifestyle of each population group.

Jennifer Gomes, architect (PT)
Raquel Viula, architect (PT)

Lee Hwa-Seop, architect (KO)
Laia Mulet, architect (ES)
Jorge Gil, architect (PT)
Susana Oliveira, architect (PT)
Sebastien Muller, architect (PT)

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