Copenhagen Gallery

Havneholmen Housing

Exclusive housing at the edge of Havneholmen with maritime references

Many a cyclist passing across the Bryggebroen bridge has probably been puzzled by them - the large cluster of elegant white buildings standing at the water's edge at Havneholmen. Set against a backdrop of dark office buildings they dazzle passing road-users with their tall, white-rendered facades and aura of laid-back Mediterranean ambiance.

Far from Kalvebod Brygge

"The whole is characterised by a sense of lightness that defies the scale, with vertical windows, projecting bays and horizontal balconies brought together in an architecturally harmonious arrangement for the instruments of light and shadow." So part of the citation read when in 2009 Foreningen til Hovedstadens Forskønnelse (The City Improvement Society of Copenhagen) decided to present the new housing complex at Havneholmen with an award. And there is no doubt that the white buildings represent a striking contribution to the area and to the nearby Kalvebod Brygge with its sharply criticised commercial buildings from the late nineties.

The residential complex, simply named Havneholmen, is designed by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects - renowned for buildings like Tietgenkollegiet (student housing) and the Royal Playhouse.

As a child of the "housing bubble" in the mid-2000s Havneholmen is a residential development at the higher end of the price bracket. The location is attractive, and some of the buildings literally stand with their feet in the water. The largest flats cover more than 200 square metres, comprise up to four balconies and command a fabulous view over the harbour. This is of course reflected in the purchase price, which is on the pricey side of DKK 10m.

Open blocks and staggered facades

Havneholmen is arranged in two U-shaped five- to eight-storey blocks, which open up towards the waterfront. As is also the case with the other developments in Havneholmen (here referring to the area), the mono-pitched roofs rise at an angle towards the harbour. In each courtyard opening a tower block juts out into the harbour, surrounded by water on three sides.

The prominent feature of the facades is the large windows and the projecting bays and balconies which are staggered in a certain rhythm to ensure an incoming flow of sunlight and a view of the water from all 236 residential units. At the same time the staggered elements lend the self-coloured facade a more complex character, creating a play of light and shadow.

The facades are finished in white silicate rendering. One of the clever things about the light facades is that they help reflect light around and into the buildings through the large windows.

A maritime feel

Inside as well as outside great attention has been given to details which accentuate the connection to the water. A wooden deck winds its way between the buildings and into the courtyards which are planted with lyme grass-like seashore plants and small trees. The flats are done out in white plaster and simple materials like untreated teak.

Drawing on inspiration from places like Venice, the architects have brought the water in between the buildings by means of two narrow canals, which reflect light up into the rooms facing onto the courtyard. The flats situated right on the canals even have small landing stages.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014