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GPW: 8 House (8 Tallet)

on September 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm under Project of the Week: 8/29/11
8 House (8 Tallet)
Copenhagen, Denmark
18,300 sf.

Year: 2010
Owner: St. Frederikslund Holding
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Building Type: Multi-Use
Type: Extensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 18,300 sq.ft.
Slope: 62.5%
Access: Inaccessible, Private

Project Description & Details

8 House (Tallet in Danish) is a 61,000 m2 bowtie-shaped mixed-use building of three different types of residential housing and 10,000 m2 of retail and offices which comprise Denmark’s largest private development ever undertaken. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the 8 House sits on the outer edge of the city as the southernmost outpost of Ørestad. Rather than a traditional block, the 8 House stacks all ingredients of a lively urban neighborhood into horizontal layers of typologies connected by a continuous promenade and cycling path up to the 10th floor creating a three-dimensional urban neighborhood where suburban life merges with the energy of a big city, where business and housing co-exist.

With spectacular views towards the Copenhagen Canal and over Kalvebod Fælled’s protected, open spaces, 8 House not only offers residences to people in all of life’s stages as well as office spaces to the city’s business and trade – it also serves as a house that allows people to bike all the way from the ground floor to the top, moving alongside townhouses with gardens winding through an urban perimeter block. Two sloping green roofs totaling 1,700 m2 are strategically placed to reduce the urban heat island effect as well as provide the visual identity to the project and tying it back to the adjacent farmlands towards the south.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
Contractor: Hopfner Partners
Civil Engineer: Moe & Brødsgaard
Roofing Contractor: Uldum Tag ApS
Roof Decks: Skandek Tagelementfabrik A/S
Pre-vegetated Mat Greenroof System: Veg Tech A/S
Partner-In-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen, Bjarke Ingels Group
Project Leader: Ole Elkjaer-Larsen, Henrick Poulsen, Bjarke Ingels Group
Project Manager: Finn Norkjaer, Henrik Lund, Bjarke Ingels Group

Additional Info

With offices in Copenhagen and New York City, the Danish architects of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) describe themselves as “architects, designers, and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research, and development.” Known for some truly spectacular work, this young firm has definitely been pushing our comfort zones by playing with shapes and forms and redefining space. BIG’s founder, the creative and energetic Bjarke Ingels, leads their approach of Hedonistic Sustainability which “helps cities adapt to tomorrow’s challenges and why sustainable future doesn’t need to involve sacrifice” through his design philosophy and as a TED and keynote speaker at conferences and universities worldwide.

8 House has received plenty of national and international attention.  Last month, 8 House was selected as a finalist for the 2011 World Architecture Festival Award in the Housing and Future projects category.  The winners will be announced at the annual WAF festival which takes place in Barcelona on November 2-4, 2011.

While attending the opening of a Global Green Growth Institute in Copenhagen this past May, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark were treated to a guided tour of 8 House by Bjarke Ingels.

Last December, 2010, Huffington Post selected 8 House as one of “the ten most-meaningful architecture moments from an exceptionally topsy-turvy decade.”  Read Jacob Slevin’s 10 Best Architecture Moments of 2001-2010.

Located in the Ørestad area of Copenhagen, 8 House was slated to be the first in a collection of buildings to push development in this outskirt neighborhood of wide open fields and pastureland.

BIG says 8 House was partly inspired by classic townhouses as well as “the open, democratic nature of functionalistic architecture.”

The undeniably unique, long, multi-sloped house has immense differences in height which the architects feel “create a strong inflow of light and a unique local community with small gardens and pathways that channel your thoughts into mountains in Southern Europe and memories of a childhood home.”

At a cost of 92,000,000 Euros, its base consists of 10,000 m2 of businesses spread out at street level alongside the surrounding main streets and at the northern courtyard that houses an office building.  The building’s housing program offers 476 residences with three kinds of accommodation varying in area from 65 to 144 m2: apartments for rent, and penthouses and townhouses for purchase.

“The different housing typologies are united by the exterior dimensions which provide inspiration for adventures, inspiring communities.” ~ BIG

Where the 8- or bow-shaped structure meets, two distinct spaces were created, separated by this center of the bow which hosts the communal facilities of 500 m2. BIG says, “At the very same spot, the building is penetrated by a 9 meter wide passage that connects the two surrounding city spaces: the park area to the west and the channel area to the east.

“Instead of dividing the different functions of the building – for both habitation and trades – into separate blocks, the various functions have been spread out horizontally.  The apartments are placed at the top while the commercial programme unfolds at the base of the building.  As a result, the different horizontal layers have achieved a quality of their own: the apartments benefit from the view, sunlight and fresh air, while the office leases merge with life on the street.  This is basically emphasized by the shape of 8 House which is literally ‘hoisted up’ in the North East corner and ‘squeezed down’ at the South West corner, allowing light and air to enter the courtyard in the middle.”

“This is our take on creative, experimental architecture, which surprises and calls for a life based on a sense of community. We have actually elevated the shared facilities around the height axis, so that gardens, trees and the system of paths follow the body of the structure all the way to the roof. On the rooftop, eleven stories up, these shared spaces culminate in a combined ‘mountain path’ and rooftop garden. From here, you can enjoy the view of Kalvebod Fælled’s nature resort.” ~ Bjarke Ingels.

Originally, the entire roof of 8 House was designed as a continuous greenroof, with pre-vegetated mats from Veg Tech A/S used on the extensive 60+% slope portions and recreational intensive roof gardens planned atop the flat areas.

Yet, because of the economic climate and budgetary restrictions, only the lower sloped portions were greened. Here’s 8 House under construction:

Here are a couple of great views of the greenroofs as they meet:

Referring to the greenroofs, Kai-Uwe Bergmann AIA, RIBA, MAA, LEED AP and BIG Partner, Director Business Development says, “Our design called for the entire roof area but the flat areas were cut due to the financial crisis and ensuing financing difficulties – so the other portions were sacrificed.  But it’s even amazing that the building was built at all these past three years.”

Aramis and I met Kai-Uwe last November when we both spoke at the International Skyrise Greenery Conference in Singapore – his presentation most definitely had the wow factor!  He started with the eye-catching, frenetic “Yes is More” video highlighting the young firm itself plus some of its equally eye-catching projects, including 8 House.

By the way, BIG’s “Archicomic Yes is More is World’s 1st Architectural Monograph” is available as an iPad app featuring loads of bonus material, including 25 integrated videos and animations, updates of 8 House and the Danish Expo Pavilion and three new projects not available in the printed version.  You can download it on iTunes here.‘s Design Editor, Haven Kiers, and I have selected 8 House to represent our perennial #10 Category in our 2011 Top 10 List of Hot Design Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design: Client Specific ‘Boutique’ Greenroofs.  We’ll be inaugurating the 2011 Top 10 List at this month’s inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011.

8 House is unique not only because it reduces the urban heat island effect with its cool courtyards, planted trees at entrances, container plantings on the balconies, and 18,300-square foot greenroofs, but the living roofs visually connect back to its pre-construction site on the prairie fields, creating a true sense of ‘genius loci’ or spirit of place.

So, ultimately, the dramatic greenroofed “V” of 8 House blends the iconic Danish structure beautifully with the original natural site and sets it off against the reflecting water of Copenhagen Canal:

Certainly, the sloped V roof line is as dramatic in a sunless, snow-covered winter landscape…

…as on a warm summer’s evening as seen from across the water:

Watch a video of Bjarke Ingels of BIG as he introduces you to his office and how their conceptual designs morph into reality with teamwork, including 8 House, below:

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click here to see more information about this project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.



2 replies to "GPW: 8 House (8 Tallet)"

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