One of BIG’s first major projects was an apartment building (the story of how they got the commission is one of amazing gall and almost amusing slyness) in a newly emerging area within Copenhagen. As it was their first project, the developer was not willing to give them too much leeway in what they designed. “Keep it somewhat in the box” is essentially what he told them. So they did… though they twisted the heck out of that box.
Starting with a basic 2-bar design for two apartment buildings, they proceeded to poke and prod the forms to create a zig-zag pattern, creating a park nestled within the v-shape of one and a shared courtyard between the two. And while the second building is nice in its own right, it’s that building facing the park that everyone remembers, for its balconies. It’s crazy, amazing, assemblage of balconies.
With their distinct shape and positioning, it’s an amazing sight to behold, filled with intricacies of form, space, and light. What’s even better and what I really love is how much the residents have taken the expressiveness of the form and used it as a launching point, adding holiday lights, artwork, and more. Even the apartments themselves become something fun by bathing the inside with coloured light. We visited the building as the sun was setting and the burst of colour and play of lights through the shadowed forms of those triangular balconies was very cool to experience.
Alas we didn’t get to go inside (it is, after all, housing). But from photos on the ‘net, the apartments themselves also seem awesome, with dozens upon dozens of unique configurations all interlocking around each other to create something way more than your typical cookie-cutter stacking. Filled with light, they feel fresh and invigorating, with lots of little areas of interest and fun.
Great work, showing wonderful and playful design that fit within the caution of a housing developer. And definitively indicatory of the start of a storied practice for BIG.