Henning Larsen envisions Fælledby as Copenhagen’s first all-timber neighbourhood

In its winning concept, the Scandinavian architectural firm combines the goodness of a city and a village to form a new housing typology for a low-rise neighbourhood in Copenhagen.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Jan 16, 2020

Imagine 18 hectares of untouched forest land as a transformed neighbourhood that accommodates the demands of a growing city and increasing local biodiversity.

Henning Larsen recently revealed the visuals of Fælledby, a new sustainable district envisioned as an all-timber neighbourhood, just beyond the Copenhagen City Center. The proposal, attuned to the Danish agrarian ethos of architecture co-existing with nature, was acknowledged as a winning entry in a national design competition hosted by local real estate firm, By & Havn.

The masterplan envisions a balance between the city and the natural surroundings | Fælledby | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
The masterplan envisions a balance between the city and the natural surroundings Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

Designed to accommodate 7,000 residents, the Fælledby community which includes the protected forest area of Amager Common, will be entirely constructed with timber, with individual buildings featuring birdhouses and animal habitats integrated within the building facades.

The masterplan features three distinct village-like cores of habitation that combine Danish urban and rural typologies of architecture. The ‘cores’ are designed to grow outward; their ‘diffuse approach’ aims to organically integrate nature within the site and maximise its access to the residents.

All residences are a two-minute walk away from natural surroundings | Fælledby | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
All residences are a two-minute walk away from natural surroundings Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

The built fabric comprises mostly low-rise, designed to capture strategic views of the surroundings. Rows of houses sit around a courtyard and are replicated to create close-knit neighbourhoods within each core. Sustainability has also been thought through within the larger scheme where the homogenous use of timber construction as against to using concrete and steel aims to reduce the carbon impact of the development.

The masterplan visualises three distinct cores that frame the neighbourhood at large  | Fælledby | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
The masterplan visualises three distinct cores that frame the neighbourhood at large Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

Connectivity within Fælledby is via narrow roads that reduce vehicular traffic and increase pedestrian access to nature. Interestingly, from any residential point, green spaces can be reached through a two-minute walk.

“With the rural village as an archetype, we are creating a city where biodiversity and active recreation define a sustainable pact between people and nature,” says Signe Kongebro, partner at Henning Larsen.

Connectivity within the neighbourhood is via narrow roads that reduce vehicular traffic and increase access to nature | Fælledby | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
Connectivity within the neighbourhood is via narrow roads that reduce vehicular traffic and increase access to nature Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

“(Fælledby) is an exciting and innovative proposal, unlike anything we’ve seen before in other parts of Copenhagen. The message from our dialogue with local citizens was entirely clear – we knew we had a responsibility to take great care of the community’s plant and animal residents, while at the same time in building a sustainable neighbourhood within this setting,” says Anne Skovbro, Managing Director of By & Havn.

  • A conceptual representation showing the making of Fælledby | Fælledby | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
    A conceptual representation showing the making of FælledbyImage Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Architectural features of the proposal | Fælledby | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
    Architectural features of the proposal Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

Keeping true to its green promise, Henning Larsen has collaborated with Denmark-based biologists and environmental engineers from MOE to develop a scheme that preserves 40 percent of the site as ‘undeveloped nature’. Various features within the masterplan bring spaces for local birds, insects and bats to thrive. These include planted facades and built-in birdhouses, new ponds for frogs and salamanders, and community gardens to attract butterflies. Green corridors also traverse the cores that invite animals to move freely within and around the site.

The proposal imagines a sustainable future of living that brings the goodness of a Danish city and a countryside. The timeline for Fælledby has not been revealed yet, but it is expected to be developed in phases.

  • Site Sections | Fælledby | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
    Housing typologies for Fælledby Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen
  • Site Sections | Fælledby | Henning Larsen | STIRworld
    Site Sections Image Credit: Courtesy of Henning Larsen

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