Main image: With its spiral plan, Bellahøjen in Copenhagen creates a strong community feeling and ensures a socially sustainable neighbourhood with a mixture of private terraced houses and subsidised apartments. Top and middle right: The Loop in Værebroparken is a small-scale intervention that aims to create a relaxed and informal meeting place for the local residents of the socially strained housing project in Gladsaxe. It consists of a simple metal band. Low budget yet very aesthetic, it is designed as a playful path offering a variation of activities. Photos: Peter Nørby. Bottom right: Kvarterspladsen, designed by Holscher Nordberg, will be a new social gathering place at the harbour front in Copenhagen, offering new possibilities for kayaks, rowing boats, swimming and more.
Building strong communities Numerous new housing developments are shooting up in previously undeveloped and industrial areas of Copenhagen. Holscher Nordberg Architecture and Planning is one of the firms shaping these areas. Scan Magazine talks to partner Nils Holscher about the importance of creating a social, sustainable urban environment, blurring the edge between private and public and enabling people to meet and connect. By Signe Hansen | Photos: Holscher Nordberg / Vismo
At the heart of Holscher Nordberg is an insistence on continuously challenging the many preconceived borders in urban development. In a rapidly changing city landscape such as Copenhagen’s, this is particularly important as a lack of well-connected social spaces might lead residents in new areas to feel disconnected and isolated, according to Holscher. “Good urban spaces, living spaces and social spaces are at the core of all our solutions. It’s the best investment a developer can make as well – to create something that will have the functionality and longevity that good space relations 72 | Issue 93 | October 2016
and materials provide. It’s about adding value for the users and a connection to the place – it’s not just about creating a cool building; it has to connect to the surroundings, giving something back. Otherwise it won’t have a lasting value.” He adds: “Social sustainability is our responsibility as architects, and that’s fundamental to us. What we aim for are simple and subtle solutions. We believe that what makes an urban space or a building relevant is when the aesthetics are based on the conceptual idea of the project – that’s what creates beautiful, long-lasting solutions.”
For the last ten years Holscher Nordberg has, led by Nils Holscher and co-name partner Mikkel Nordberg, implemented this philosophy all over the centre and outskirts of Copenhagen. Working with the firm’s 42 dedicated co-workers, they strive to shape the city to accommodate the needs of the rapidly growing number of families and singles who want a new kind of urban life.
Spiralling people together Among Holscher Nordberg’s recent projects is a new living quarter in Bellahøjen, a Greater Copenhagen neighbourhood with its own distinct character and challenges. The project, which includes a combination of private terraced houses and subsidised flats, is constructed in a spiral shape rising from two stories at its lowest to seven stories at its highest. The spiral creates a borderless and interconnected urban
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Swedish author Emma Ångström.