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Bjarke Ingels Group completes prefab affordable housing project in Denmark

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Rethinking what affordable looks like

Front of curving building with bikes Photo by Rasmus Hjortshoj courtesy of BIG

BIG, the Danish architecture firm helmed by Bjarke Ingels, designs for the likes of WeWork and Google. It also has a history of building affordable student housing and public amenities for those who don’t have a mega-budget to work with.

The latest example? A residential building called Dortheavej in Copenhagen, where all 66 units are dedicated to affordable housing. Partnering with the housing non-profit Lejerbo, BIG designed a winding, five-story timber structure on a tight budget by using modular parts.

As the architects explain:

The prefabricated elements are stacked in a way that allows every second module an extra meter of room height, making the kitchen-living areas unusually spacious. By gently adjusting the modules, the living areas open more towards the courtyard while curving the linear block away from the street to expand the sidewalk into a public square.

Dining room with big windows and table Photo by Rasmus Hjortshoj courtesy of BIG

Each of the units has floor-to ceiling windows and an outdoor terrace, as well as wood floors and 11.5-foot tall cement ceilings. Like BIG’s other residential projects, there’s an angular, Scandinavian sparseness to the design, which has a way of looking good and expensive no matter what it cost to build.

Photo by Rasmus Hjortshoj courtesy of BIG