Tenant owned non-profit housing
Denmark
2009 - 2020

At­trac­tive low-cost hous­ing

Non-profit housing with unique values

AlmenBolig+ (Non-ProfitHousing+) is a new type of not for profit affordable housing commissioned and managed by the tenant owned non-profit housing manager KAB. The project sprang from then Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard’s promise to create 5,000 new homes for working-class families in Copenhagen for whom the city’s housing prices had simply become untenable.

AlmenBolig+ are non-profit housing 2.0; they may be poor on extravagant details but rich in utility value, sustainability and attractive neighbourly relations.

Thus, when KAB announced competitions for 5 generations of single-family houses on a variety of plots in Copenhagen and smaller towns, we saw it as our most important task to use architectural means to create a development with unique qualities, despite the constraints. Each generation of AlmenBolig+ houses have developed to push low production cost and modular prefab and high quality and popular housing. Houses may be poor on extravagant details but rich in utility value, sustainability and attractive neighbourly relations.

‘AlmenBolig+ is a minor revolution in Danish non-profit housing, which we are pleased and proud to have been a part of. Just as our Tinggaarden project blazed new trails, we are now redefining the concept of non-profit housing once again. Now the focus is very much on social and economic sustainability, but just as before, the main goal is to make non-profit housing attractive from a human perspective by creating architecture that meets human needs and creates spaces for living.”

– Jan Albrechtsen, Architect maa, partner

Challenge no. 1: Create an affordable home

The average rent in AlmenBolig+  developments is about 23% less than in other, comparable non-profit housing. This is made possible in part by means of energy optimization  and by replacing traditional but also costly craft methods with pre-fab units. The sustainable construction system is not only cheaper than conventional concrete structures – it has also cut resource consumption in half.

[AlmenBolig+ 3]

Challenge no. 2: Make modular architecture exciting

AlmenBolig+ equals modular construction. And we really are not trying to make it appear as anything other than what it is, although naturally, we strive to bring out the best in every project. In the AndelBolig+ in Amager as well as the Denmark Plot, for example, we fitted the houses with large eaves and sloped roofs which changes the boxy aesthetic considerably. It also protects the building from the impact of wind and water.

[AlmenBolig+ 2]

Energy-efficient and cheap

The Denmark Houses qualify for energy classification 2020. Most of the energy in the development comes from solar panels, and energy consumption is kept to a minimum. All the homes have mechanical ventilation that reuses the heat from the air that is let out of the houses. Solar panels on the roofs provide power to the entire development. This means that the homes, which are heated with electric heating elements, have access to very cheap power. The regular monthly amount charged for electricity is DKK 450 a month per home – this covers all electricity use, including heating.

[AlmenBolig+ 3]

Long-term sustainability

Although economic parameters were the primary concern in the design of the Denmark Houses, the houses also have a strong performance on social and environmental sustainability parameters. The decision to budget for robust and durable materials helps reduce operating costs in the long term. As a result of the new organization that characterizes AlmenBolig+, the residents take good care of the place, and turn-over is low.

[AlmenBolig+ 3]

Same same but different

The homes vary in size from 83 to 130 square metres, but the basic set-up is the same throughout. The units have no interior walls and leave it up to the tenants to decide what sort of floor plan they want. The installations are embedded in the exterior wall, so wiring and plumbing are taken care of.

For dense housing complexes we carefully design zones for community and clear transitions between private and public areas. The porch like entrance is an informal zone that acts as a buffer between the access path and the private entrance.

[AlmenBolig+ 3]

Soft forms for the modular boxes

The Denmark Plot is characterized by a sloping wedge shape with clear landscape relations to the West Embankment (Vestvolden) and the nearby canal. Both are scenic nature areas with large, dense woodlands. The wedge-shaped modules link up to form a curved development with 72 houses in five rows.

[AlmenBolig+ 3]

AlmenBolig+ offers a safe and social community in or near the cities and at an affordable house  [AlmenBolig+ 5]

Deeply varied homes

The AlmenBolig+ 5 homes are made from a variety of box modules which challenge contemporary housing that have  uniform depth and flat ceilings. Here we introduce very short modules as well as sloping roofs and skylights. [AlmenBolig+ 5]

Project facts

Facts

Project name: Tenant owned non-profit housing

Category:Housing

Client: KAB

Location: Denmark

Date: 2009 - 2020

Project

Program: Not for profit housing

Activity: Architecture

Job type: Several won competitions for turnkey construction

Construction system: Prefab box modules

Contact: Søren Nielsen, sn@vandkunst.dk

Project group: Gilles Charrier, Camilla Libonati, Jan Albrechtsen, Kim Dalgaard, Thomas Nybo Rasmussen

Team

Architect: Vandkunsten

Landscape: Vandkunsten

Engineer: Dansk Energimanagement & Esbensen, Sloth Møller A/S

Contractor: GVL Entreprise and BM Tag