Fællesbyg Køge Kyst will see 42 individual homes as well as extensive shared in- and outdoor spaces and facilities created through a joint building venture. Photo: Vandkunsten Architects
Joint building ventures — a new way to build and live together Seen as a bottom-up strategy to change the housing market, joint building ventures and co-housing are increasingly making their way onto the Danish housing market. For Vandkunsten Architects, a firm founded in the 1970s, this has opened up for a welcome return to the firm’s ideological roots. By Signe Benn Hansen | Photos: Vandkunsten Architects
Founded in 1970, a time when communal living was a political and ideological statement practised by many, Vandkunsten has been behind the design of numerous different shared living communities. But due to changes in political ideology as well as financial structures, the demand for shared accommodation had since stagnated for decades. Today, however, new family structures and a growing ocus on the social and environmental benefits of co-housing have rekindled the interest in modern forms of communal living arrangements. Indeed, a recently conducted survey by Realdania showed that a significant share of senior citizens (around 80,000 according to the published survey) would like to live in some sort of co-housing 50 | Issue 129 | October 2019
community. Unfortunately, that offer is not currently on the market in Denmark, explains Jan Albrechtsen, partner at Vandkunsten. “Basically, it’s very simple – people just feel that being closer to other people would give them more joy; they don’t want to sit in their own little flat, staring at the wall. They want to be able to go out, have a cup of coffee and a chat – it’s a human need, and, together with PensionDanmark, we’re currently working on some very exciting projects to fill that need.” The projects Vandkunsten is designing for PensionDanmark will provide seniors with rental accommodation in a cohousing community, but more seniors are also becoming interested in taking things into their own hands. Like
their German neighbours, they want to create their own collective housing without depending on private or state-backed developers. “In Germany, you have entire neighbourhoods built like that, and the result is a vibrant urban environment with a broad variety of homes that express the different dreams of people,” Pernille Schyum Poulsen, partner at Vandkunsten, explains. “When people build together, it also creates very strong local communities and communities that are ready to lift and take on more social responsibility. It’s a huge resource when talking social sustainability.” To explore the concept, Vandkunsten has initiated Fællesbyg Køge Kyst, which will see 42 individual homes as well as extensive shared in- and outdoor spaces and facilities created through a joint building venture.
Rebelling against the commune Currently engaged in several co-housing projects, Vandkunsten has worked with communal spaces and shared living