Nye mursten med gammlet look
© Egernsund Wienerberger A/S

Striking slope

architectum edition #32

Apartment building, Aaboulevard, Kobber
© Niels Nygaard Photography

Social housing, Falkoner Allé

in Denmark

Apartment building, Aaboulevarden, Kobber
© Egernsund Wienerberger A/S

Product used

Egernsund EW0466 Kobber

Striking slope

A social housing project on Falkoner Allé in Copenhagen, Denmark required a design that would fit in with the surrounding fin de siècle buildings in which no two bricks are alike.

Social housing in Denmark

How do you design a modern building to fit into a historic district? This was the question the architects at Mangor & Nagel from Copenhagen asked themselves when they began the design process for this very special building.
The residential project, consisting of 14 family apartments, was to be built on the historic Falkoner Allé in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, which is known for its classic fin de siècle residential buildings. The new building was intended to extend the existing terraced buildings, to fill the vacant site on the corner and yet still remain visually faithful to the historical ambience.

Not unnecessarily conspicuous

This challenging building bridging the old and new has now been completed and has already won awards. In 2020, it was named one of the Architectural pearls of the year by the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske. The façade attracted special attention: the classic red brick and decorative relief details fit perfectly into the historic streetscape.
The jury justified the award as follows: “This new and graceful building masters the rare art of being itself without being unnecessarily obtrusive. This should not really be a reason to write a news story, but that is how things are today: the current norm is the opposite, namely unnecessarily conspicuous buildings.
The brick façade, tiled roof and subdued window frames that correspond to the adjacent buildings mean that one doesn’t immediately realise that the building is new. But this initial assumption is belied by the asymmetrical structure and the postmodern roof pitch”.

Bricks with a special patina

The bricks were developed by the Danish brick manufacturer Egernsund Wienerberger and specially designed to harmonise with the façades of the existing brick buildings. In particular, the bricks used in this project were intended to mirror the bricks of the adjacent Church of the Deaf, which has been there since 1904. “It was crucial that the bricks resemble those of the church. And this was a special challenge because the church has stood there for over 100 years and has been marked by wind, weather and city life”, says Janus Steenberg, architect and client advisor at Egernsund Wienerberger.
For this reason, the architects chose a newly developed brick named Copper. It is characterised by a deep red colour and dark surface accentuated by natural pigments. “No two bricks are alike. The dark surface gives them a touch of patina so that they look like the 100-year-old bricks from the church next door”, he explains.

„No two bricks are alike. The dark surface gives them a touch of patina so that they look like the 100-year-old bricks from the church next door “, - Janus Steenberg , Architect Egernsund Wienerberger.

Form blends into the surroundings

The geometry of the building also reflects the architects’ consideration of the surroundings. The building rises six floors from street level and is thus aligned with the adjacent properties. However, the roof drops down to the second floor towards the courtyard to come in line with Falkonergården, an old, one-story villa that has been repurposed as a kindergarten.
“It would be too imposing if there was a five-storey difference in height between the new building and Falkonergården. The pitched roof balances out the difference and makes the transition harmonious”, says Janus Steenberg, who is satisfied with the result. 

Apartment building, Aaboulevard, Kobber
© Niels Nygaard Photography

Facts & Figures

Project name: Social housing, Falkoner Allé, Copenhagen, Denmark

Architecture   Mangor & Nagel A/S

Client  Boligorganisationen AAB

Year of completion  2019

Product used   Egernsund EW0466 Kobber

Building type  Apartment Building

Published in  architectum #32

Danish Facade Brick - W 466 Kobber
© Wienerberger A/S

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