Transformation of parking lot by DR Byen to new neighborhood

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Rethinking a dull parking
lot to new neighborhood

Year: First prize in competition 2022, expected completion in 2026

Client: AP Ejendomme

Program: Rental, elderly and co-operative social housing, day care center, and underground parking

Size: 30,000 m² (above ground) and 16,000 m² (underground)

Today on the campus of DR (DR Byen), a large and desolate parking lot sits between one of Copenhagen’s important cultural landmarks - the DR concert hall, and one of the city’s largest nature reserves - Amager Commons. This parking lot dominates its surroundings, which seem empty and deserted. By moving the parking underground, space is opened up for a new development. With the project, Cobe has created new mixed-use district that promotes diversity and strengthens democracy, and invests in high architectural quality and solutions that create value for all. It includes a major rethinking of an underground parking experience, transformed into a distinctive arrival point to the DR campus, and building systems with a low carbon footprint and energy consumption. It will forge new communities and contribute to nature within the city. The landscape of Amager Commons seeps in between the buildings, increasing biodiversity and local natural habitats. With a careful mix of apartment types and social balconies, the neighborhood will become a new community where people from all walks of life will live side by side. The project is targeting the sustainability certifications DGNB Platinum and the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

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The site is located between the Amager Commons nature reserve and the iconic DR concert hall- part of DR Byen - the headquarters and campus of The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR).

An extraordinary
parking experience
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The basis for the project is to provide DR Byen with a new underground parking facility, with a welcoming and safe atmosphere that strengthens the experience of arrival for visitors.

Underground parking is often experienced as a functional, dark, and unpleasant environment. With the new neighborhood, parking your car will be an extraordinary experience within everyday life. Instead of traditional closed staircase cores, large openings in the below-grade roof provide access to the street level, flooding the underground parking with daylight and air and allowing a natural indoor climate and an atmosphere enhanced with green pockets.

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Natural daylight, fresh air and vegetation provide a new typology of underground parking.

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Large openings with ramps to the street level flood the underground parking with daylight and air, create a natural indoor climate and minimize the feeling of being underground.

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The materiality of the underground parking facility echoes the concert hall’s iconic architecture.

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Removing the car parking from street level enables safe urban spaces that can host the activities of social urban life.

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The spaces created by the openings eliminate the visual barriers of a typical staircase core, and introduce daylight for increased safety and an intuitive wayfinding.

The wayfinding from the underground parking to the street level is simple and intuitive, increasing the level of safety and greatly enhancing the experience of the underground parking. White markings guide you either to one of the openings leading to street level or to a common walkway. A wall treated as a red curtain runs along the common walkway and stands in contrast to the surrounding concrete surfaces, giving a warm atmosphere and naturally ushering visitors to the entrance of the concert hall and DR Byen.

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White markings on the ground provide safe conditions for pedestrians to the openings leading to street level or to the common walkway along the red curtain wall.

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The red curtain wall is made out of metal mesh, adopting the warm materials and nuances from the concert hall.

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The concert hall’s
next door neighbor
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Site plan for the new mixed-use development.

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Amager Commons moves in creating a green urban district.

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Reducing energy consumption, selection of reused materials, handling of mobility, and adding social values.

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An urban structure in human scale, fine-tuned to its neighbors.

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A car free street level intensifies a new social city neighborhood.

By moving car traffic underground, the street level is liberated for new uses for people and nature, establishing a social city. The new neighborhood is designed as an open courtyard structure with the nature of Amager Commons filtering inward and upward on the buildings to create new green courtyards and urban spaces. The open courtyard configuration also lends a larger facade surface to each building, ensuring more daylight into the apartments compared to a traditional courtyard in Copenhagen.

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Green connections filter through the buildings.

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The open courtyard structure with different heights increases facade surface that allows better conditions for daylight to enter the various types of apartments.

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Vegetation inspired by the nature reserve of Amager Commons is allowed to flow in between the buildings.

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Distinct types of apartments - from rental, to elderly and co-operative social housing - are distributed on the plot ensuring a diverse and robust new community.

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The buildings are positioned and shaped to create a series of views of the concert hall in the nearby.

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The heights of the buildings step gradually downward from the concert hall toward the nature reserve of Amager Commons, respectfully retaining the status of the concert hall as an iconic landmark in the neighborhood. The green connections ensure views of the concert hall from many vantage points.

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A green viaduct dissolves the existing boundaries between Amager Commons, DR Byen, and the surrounding neighborhood.

A building system
reducing the
carbon footprint

The new neighborhood implements a wide range of solutions that together contribute to a reduction of the project’s carbon footprint. This includes the use of eco-friendly, reused, and CO₂ reducing construction materials, as well as solutions that minimize energy consumption, support green mobility and urban biodiversity, and are rich with opportunities for social connection.

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The underground parking lowers the carbon footprint of the building structure through the use of CO₂ reduced concrete.

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75% of the load-bearing structure is designed in wood.

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The building system: The wood beams of the individual buildings stand on top of the underground parking’s concrete columns, channeling the load of the buildings, providing flexibility for the spans of wood construction and reducing the use of steel and concrete.

75% of the load-bearing structure is constructed in pre-fabricated, cross-laminated timber (CLT), reducing the building’s carbon footprint by 80%. The wooden structure is a modular system designed for disassembly, which can be reused in future new construction. The facade is composed in reused materials chosen with cradle-to-cradle principles, and the balconies designed in pre-fabricated reused steel elements.

28 cobe dr byen diagram sustainability

A sustainable icon implementing multiple solutions in the design and construction of the buildings, underground parking, and the surrounding landscape.

The neighborhood contributes to increased biodiversity and an urban nature by integrating green spaces and courtyards inspired by the landscape of Amager Commons. With a wide range of apartment types, the neighborhood ensures a high degree of diversity in residents, shaping a resilient and inclusive community.

Uniting culture and
nature in one facade
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The facade design takes cues from the concert hall’s visible external grid structure and from the abundance of plant life found in Amager Commons.

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The interior courtyard facades are designed with social balconies to strengthen the new local community by designing for interaction between the residents, while the exterior facades feature lush, green vertical gardens, adapted from the landscape of Amager Commons.

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The external structural frame of the facades allows for social balconies toward the interior courtyards and for green gardens on the buildings’ exterior faces.

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The highly social interior facades heighten interaction between the balconies, allow for views to common green courtyards and underground parking. Common amenities are found at ground level and the building tops.

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The building facades are informed by the rich and varied color palette found in the nature of the neighboring Amager Commons. The individual buildings each adopt nuances of red, yellow, and green to reflect and harmonize with the surrounding natural environment.

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Colors identified from the many the nuances of the natural world of Amager Commons.

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The color variation in the facades.

The plant species used in the green facades are carefully selected to evoke a natural setting - in context with the local habitat of Amager Commons. This includes climbing plants that are green all year round and those that change colors or bloom seasonally, ensuring a neighborhood that reflects the cycles of the seasons.

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A vertical dynamic landscape animates the facade as it changes over the course of the year.

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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Client: AP Ejendomme

Program: Rental, elderly and co-operative social housing, day care center, and underground parking

Size: 30,000 m² (above ground) and 16,000 m² (underground)

Year: First prize in competition 2022, expected completion in 2026

Team: Alexander Ejsing, Caroline Krogh Andersen, Casper Borg, Dan Stubbergaard, Jacob Blak Henriksen, Josefine Østergaard Kallehave, Lauren Catterson, Mark Aron Thomsen, Max Neumeister, Nikolaj Harving, Vitus Bjerre