Making a mountain...

Niki May Young
Monday 27 Oct 2008

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) present an artistic solution to a functional problem

Mountain Dwellings, located in Orestad city offers the best of two worlds: closeness to the hectic city life in the centre of Copenhagen, and the tranquillity of suburban life. Approached to create a space for 20,000 sq ft of housing and 60,000 sq ft of parking, BIG were faced with the problem of taking these functional elements and presenting a liveable, attractive space.

Rather than doing two separate buildings next to each other - a parking and a housing block – BIG decided to merge the two functions into a symbiotic relationship. The parking area, which services the entire neighbourhood, needed to be connected to the street, while the homes required sunlight, fresh air and views. The solution was to create a sloping facade with the apartments stepping up the 'mountain' above the car parking space. This way each apartment could have a private garden facing the sun and with spectacular views. The Mountain Dwellings appear as a suburban neighbourhood of homes flowing over a 10-storey building.

The residents of the 80 apartments will be the first in Orestaden to have the possibility of parking directly outside their homes. The gigantic parking area contains 480 parking spots and a sloping elevator that moves along the mountain’s inner walls. In some places the ceiling height is up to 16 meters and with murals and rainbow lighting the space becomes what BIG refer to as a "cathedral of car culture".

The north and west facades are covered by perforated aluminium plates, which let in air and light to the parking area. The holes in the facade form a huge reproduction of Mount Everest turning what would have been a standard parking lot into a new landscape landmark. At day the holes in the aluminium plates will appear black on the bright aluminium, and the gigantic picture will resemble that of a rough rasterized photo. At night time the facade will be lit from the inside and appear as a photo negative in different colours as each floor in the parking area has different colours.

Mountain Dwellings came first in its category of Housing at the World Architecture Festival Awards where WAN spoke to Bjarke Ingels following his presentation. Hear what he had to say in our Spotlight podcast page.

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