Housing on Lisbjerg Bakke revolves around sustainability in the widest sense of the term – housing qualities, community spirit, economy and all the relevant rules and certifications. This is Vandkunsten's proposal for a future-proof and generally applicable housing and development scheme, based on current technology, economy and regulations. The project of 40 housing units and a communal space has been designed as a small village with two dense housing clusters, each with a little square, and connected with a narrow street. The 2-4 storey housing scheme is located as the first project of the urban development of a hilly suburb to the City of Aarhus.
Sustainable is smart low-tech
The architects at Vandkunsten prefer to use building components that are designed to be disassembled and reused. Sustainable housing is seen as 'smart low-tech' that can take care of resources, for example in the form of carefully selected building materials. Solid wood is the primary material in the flexible hybrid construction system, whereas concrete and steel are secondary, and used where appropriate.
The architecture of Lisbjerg Bakke is defined by the use of wood and of the benefits of prefabrication. Slender roof overhangs and over-dimensioned drip edges across the facades offer structural protection of the untreated spruce façade and architectural identity in one.
Pioneering housing project in wood
‘Sustainable Non-profit Housing of the Future’ was the ambitious headline of the open competition for a series of housing schemes. Vandkunsten Architects won the competition with a proposal using a new hybrid wood-based construction principle.
Since its completion the wooden exterior of Housing on Lisbjerg Bakke has illustrated the ongoing discussion of CO2 friendly building in Denmark. Yet the embedded flexibility of the column-based construction principle makes the housing project robust and adaptable for future changes.
Build your own – save the rent and add identity
Kitchens come with the bare essentials in order to keep the rent at a minimum. Interior walls are also built at a minimum and only suggested as dotted lines on the plan drawing. This way residents can design to fit their needs and keep their home layout open or with more rooms by adding walls.
Hybrid system uses materials at their best
The hybrid building principle WoodStock was developed by the architects and engineers. While hybrid construction is not new, the principle needed an adaptation to the Danish context in which multistorey housing is dominated by prefabricated concrete element construction. WoodStock combines prefabrication of solid wood components, concrete and steel – each are well-known and documented but the combination is novel in Denmark.
Laminated wood is used for posts, beams, the long-spanning decks, and for the roof, and façade elements. Concrete and steel is used as well where it makes structural and practical sense. Concrete is excellent to fulfill strict demands for sound proofing in multi-storey housing. Hence concrete has been used in the access stairwells, elevator shafts, and as part of the decks. Steel beams replace wood certain places where additional support is necessary, and to keep the proportions of the building system.
In this way the future of wood construction is in fact hybrid. Especially the beam and post system and long-spanning deck elements offer an immense flexibility freedom for floor plans as well as redesign to adapt for changing living needs in the future. All of the 40 units are basically unique and vary in size from 50-115 m2 in order for social inclusiveness and to enable diversity among residents.
Windows can be freely sized and placed in the wood based construction system. Note the windows openings in the corners and from floor to ceilings. The solid wood elements can all be disassembled and reused.
Neutral coloured metal roofing and uncoloured aluminum window profiles add to the clear materiality of the project. All units have views towards the rolling landscapes just 10km from the city of Aarhus.
The wood staircases in two-storey apartments are clad in wood treated with lye
All exterior walls are clad on the interior with 3-layered cross laminated spruce treated with lye.