Like most Danish cities, Esbjerg is characterized by a very flat topography and general city structure without high-rise buildings. With a height of over 30 m the project consequently becomes a new landmark that is visible from practically anywhere in the local area. Having these underlying conditions in mind, we worked with two overall focal points: On the one hand to design an eye-catching icon that expresses energy and vitality without being visually importunate or impairing the housing’s qualities. On the other hand to organize the building’s functions in such a way that they meet the demands of varying user groups and utilise the qualities of the tower’s volume optimally.
The building has to accommodate two basic functions: apartments – for both students and young elitist sports practitioners – and common areas. The latter are divided into two separate common rooms, which are placed on opposite ends of the building: at ground level, with direct contact to the terraces, outdoor activity zones and the surrounding city, and on the top floor with a spectacular view over Esbjerg and the Wadden Sea. The ground floor spaces invite to extrovert activities and spontaneous meetings with other people while the roof area is more secluded with room for tranquillity and relaxation in smaller groups, whose daily life is dominated by physical activity.
The horizon and the cross winds are characteristic of the Wadden Sea region on the Danish west coast. The flat landscape draws a horizontal line across the field of vision, and the low vegetation mimic this direction – shaped by the wind coming from the sea. By angling the building’s windows into elongated parallelograms the horizontal lines are accentuated – creating an illusion of dynamism and cross winds. The oblong windows grant the best possible views as well as optimal lighting conditions for the individual apartments, where daylight is spread evenly throughout the interior. One might say that they create a panoramic impact interacting with the flat landscape, the sea and the horizon. The building is more than just a tower with four facades – the windows form a harmonic link between the surroundings, the housings and the human scale.