When designing a row house
in the Danish typology, it is hard to ignore the vernacular. A country rich in co-housing tradition, Denmark has a large number of examples from which to draw inspiration. It was from these typologies that the design for the Stadsgraven housing drew its inspiration.
The vernacular precedent does not exist haphazardly. It has evolved over time to best accommodate the local conditions of a certain area, and for this reason it can not be overlooked. The pitched roof, for example, is something deemed necessary by Denmark’s inclement weather, and this became the impetus of the
unit designs. Strict traditionalist interpretations of the vernacular do not, however, best serve the changing needs of a metropolitan Copenhagen. The aim of this project is to bridge the traditional with the contemporary. It is inspired by the vernacular, but proceeds to extend its definition – both formally and programmatically – to the needs of today.
While the design of each unit may seem a bit eclectic, its formal representation was derived through a series of logical progressions. The pitched row house typology is a starting off point, and subsequent formal gestures are the direct result of programmatic needs. The shape is pushed, pulled, stretched and sheared until the desired program is adequately accommodated.
The site design can be seen in quite the same way. At first glance it looks like a random amalgamation of elements. The process, however, was very logical and linear. The establishment of a north/south grid was used in order to best orient the units toward daylight. Existing building were respected, as their re-use will help add to the community. The larger building to the north will be reused as a community gym, and the building south of that will be re-used as the common house for the housing residents. Subsequent steps taken after the establishment of the matrix and the respecting of the existing buildings each also address specific site needs. The result is a cohesive layout which engages not only the residents, but the local community as well.