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  7. Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS

Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS

  • 01:00 - 11 March, 2009
Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS
Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS

Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS +43

  • Architects

  • Location

    Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Architects

    BIG Architects
  • Partner In Charge

    Bjarke Ingles for BIG, Julien De Smedt for JDS
  • Project Architect

    Jakob Lange
  • Project Leader

    Finn Nørkjær
  • Project Manager

    Jan Borgstrøm
  • Collaborators

    JDS/JULIEN DE SMEDT ARCHITECTS, Moe & Brødsgaard, Freddy Madsen Rådgivende Ingeniører ApS
  • Engineering

    Moe & Brodsgaard
  • Construction Manager

    Henrick Poulsen
  • Client

    Høpfner A/S
  • Construction

    DS Elcobyg A/S /PH Montage
  • Area

    33000.0 sqm
  • Project Year


From the architect. How do you combine the splendours of the suburban backyard with the social intensity of urban density?

The Mountain Dwellings are the 2nd generation of the VM Houses - same client, same size and same street. The program, however, is 2/3 parking and 1/3 living. What if the parking area became the base upon which to place terraced housing - like a concrete hillside covered by a thin layer of housing, cascading from the 11th floor to the street edge? Rather than doing two separate buildings next to each other - a parking and a housing block - we decided to merge the two functions into a symbiotic relationship. The parking area needs to be connected to the street, and the homes require sunlight, fresh air and views, thus all apartments have roof gardens facing the sun, amazing views and parking on the 10th floor. The Mountain Dwellings appear as a suburban neighbourhood of garden homes flowing over a 10-storey building - suburban living with urban density.

The roof gardens consist of a terrace and a garden with plants changing character according to the changing seasons. The building has a huge watering system which maintains the roof gardens. The only thing that separates the apartment and the garden is a glass façade with sliding doors to provide light and fresh air.

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 which gives the impression of a cathedral-like space.

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. 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.

The Mountain Dwellings is located in Orestad city and offer the best of two worlds: closeness to the hectic city life in the centre of Copenhagen, and the tranquillity characteristic of suburban life.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS" 11 Mar 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


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mike eliason · May 23, 2012

$40M 900 car garage:

v. $65M 500 car garage + 80 sweet apartments:
time to import developers?!?

Observer L · May 10, 2012
Cadwell Collins · May 04, 2012

Can any one tel me what the going rate for one of the apartment are at the Mountain housing project?

Seem like a wonderful idea if the numbers work out

mike eliason · March 22, 2012

a 500 car parking garage in northgate? asinine. a 480 car park w 80 housing units? priceless. come on seattle...

tiffany chu · March 02, 2012

@crushgear @jarednova i lived in the same nabe in nørrebro! also see: in short, let&#39s move to copenhagen together.

tiffany chu · March 02, 2012

@crushgear @jarednova i lived in the same nabe in nørrebro! also see: in short, let&#39s move to copenhagen together.

Javier Guiñales · February 03, 2012

Mountain Dwellings / BIG with JDS, good project in #Copenhagen via @archdaily

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Centor4 · October 28, 2011

Mountain Dwellings / BIG with JDS

Centor4 · October 28, 2011

Mountain Dwellings / BIG with JDS | ArchDaily via @archdaily

ERENALP BÜYÜKTOPCU · August 08, 2011
o · May 19, 2011

Glenn Small designed this back in 1983, it was called Turf Town:

yojic · May 17, 2011

LOVE this building idea:

Mark Gardner · January 20, 2011

Mountain Dwellings / BIG with JDS | ArchDaily via @archdaily

bclights · January 06, 2011

ArchDaily building of the year / category housing via @archdaily

Katharina Kothmiller · December 09, 2010

BIG steht für innovativen Wohnbau?sehen+staunen! or very BIG

alex · November 20, 2010 Mountain Dwellings / BIG with JDS

gani zakaria · October 09, 2010

Mountain Dwellings / BIG with JDS | ArchDaily

gani zakaria · October 09, 2010

Mountain Dwellings / BIG with JDS | ArchDaily

quy long · June 10, 2010

VM phase I: "If people are different then why are all apartments alike?"
VM phase II: all apartments now are alike.
bravo architects!

DauD ArC · June 07, 2010

yep ;) grazie "a+t" ;)

a+t · June 07, 2010

I think you would like this video!

DauD ArC · June 07, 2010

perfetto ;* like it,, dazis fantastish!!

brendan · May 27, 2010

habitat 67

joni mazumder · May 12, 2010

its just amazing

Cindy FrewenWuellner · March 09, 2010

Building of the Year/Housing: Mountain Dwellings, Copenhagen, BIG. on @archdaily #architecture

a+t · March 04, 2010

Great project! we visited it in 2008

misu · March 04, 2010

??????????Bjarke Ingels?BIG?????Kaspar Astrup Schröder???????


Hunter Ruthrauff · March 04, 2010

I do have to agree that any program thats 2/3 carpark and 1/3 housing is nuts and ironic at the same time considering only 1/3 of the population drives. I had an opportunity to see this a month before it was finished and I have to hand it to BIG. The circulation was well worked out and the spaces nicely done. The Mt. Everest raster in the aluminum mesh was lame but the running path inset of that was pretty neat.

Mica · March 04, 2010

Clap clap clap!!!!

Very, very nice!!!!

Saul Bernfeld · March 04, 2010

An evolution project, wonderful since green roofs through parking spaces. High-quality an example.

choki · February 16, 2010

looked dull, felt like a recycled Rio ghetto, but the idea is just divine. superb job!

pathos · September 15, 2009

this is brilliant

andreop · June 07, 2009

nice concept, although spacially would feel much like moshe safdie's habitat 67. privacyless

Lasse · May 21, 2009

Carmen - The masterplan (idioticly) states that all shop and cafés must be in a mall close by.. This part of town is striped of street life except people coming to see this building and the neighbouring vm housing..
And to most other crying critics: would you rather have 100% housing and a huge parking lot?
When a new less function-dived masterplan is done (can't be long now or Ørestaden will turn into a desert of SALE signs)this is one of the projects that i believe will help to facillitate the transition towards a good and vibrant town..

I actually don't see how anyone can hate it....

evap · April 08, 2009

short film about conception & first construction phase of mountain dwellings:

carmen · March 19, 2009

another awful example of Koolhaus-induced built diagrams. Ørestad (where this building is) is a lifeless development without any urban activity because of projects like this. street life anyone?!?!?!

Cornelius · March 19, 2009

For completeness, the approximate location:

Openminded Arch · March 18, 2009

Despite the -repeatedly- standard critique to any design that is not late modernist, or god forbid, have an improved solution for the programme, this has been nominated

Again! This time by MIPIM!

Before that BEST HOUSING at


Even though its not a purely functional piece 'like we always do' architecture roadkill and others prefer.

Hmm Strange

Peter · March 16, 2009

@Andy H
That's not true.

@Arch Daily
It is not a reproduction of Mount Everest, even though the peak can be found. But it's small and hidden and you should know what to look for.

Ralph Kent · March 14, 2009

Any photos of the rump end of it? I'd be interested to see how that solid slab face running down from the peak of the 'mountain' plays out urbanistically in the years ahead.

Andy H · March 13, 2009

This building is pretty cool when you see it at night but, like all the buildings in this area, it was designed to look at while whizzing by on the elevated train that goes through the entire area. The building is horribly out of scale when you walk down the street. The 480 spaces are needed because there are no grocery stores in Ørsted so everyone has to drive into Copenhagen to buy a carton of milk.

scott · February 02, 2010 10:58 PM

Ørestad is lame because almost all of the commercial activity is concentrated in Field's Mall, but there is a Netto across the street from VM Husene...don't go overboard.

PaCh · March 13, 2009

Capo della montagna

It seems to me like sb spent a wonderful vacation time in some Mediterranean island like Santorini,Greece or Positano,Italy maybe to come up with an idea like this

Take care

JoftheBx · March 13, 2009

outstanding solution. 480 spaces for 80 units would be 6 per unit... so obviously the parking is there for other reasons as well. btw- a stand alone parking structure for this many spaces would be 6 stories and around 120' x 270'. we all know what most of those look like.

kc · March 13, 2009

I find this project intimidating. Especially if I was living in the detached house next to way

roadkill · March 13, 2009

clearly a case of Brokeback Mountain... if the end justify the means then this is a triumph of danish design. well done, stay tuned coz you'll hear a lot more about this project - maybe they can convert it all to a giant car park, it sure has the aesthetics for it. Like most projects by big, it is lazy and reduced to simple diagram like approach design that serves no purpose.

M · March 12, 2009

to all the people talking about the 1/3 housing and 2/3 parking .... go and read about the project and the reason it is like that, and stop talking bull"/%&/%!.
hate it when people talking withouth thinking.

eno · March 12, 2009

Well Done,BIG.
By the way,where's its location?Does it change into BIG's practice center?More than one buildings are their Projects,aren't they?

Laura · March 12, 2009

It's like any park proyect, once the people move in and the plants are growing, everything changes and starts looking organic. The identity comes with the owners.
About the parking space, it's good that they thought the problem and came out with an excellent solution.

David · March 12, 2009


Jiri K. · March 12, 2009

I have seen this project already long time ago and still I think that it is one of the best architectural works in the recent years.

Ricko · March 12, 2009

I find it funny when people say "sorry, but it's horrible". I feel like answering "ok, I forgive you"... so, what would most of the critics do with such a program and with such restraints? a parking "box" and a tower on top? It's impossible to not admit that it's a brilliant answer, even if you dislike its final form.

Peter · March 12, 2009

About the large parkingspace. It serves as parking for the nearby buildings. It's all part of the urban masterplan of Ørestaden. All parking is centralized, and horribly expensive. A parking license to "Mountain Dwellings" is 168 USD per month as we speak. And you still have to look for a free spot.

kevin · March 12, 2009

amazing work. complex and simple at the same time, application of colors in the right proportions. I agree with NMIller on
the carparking issue. However how great a client has been convinced to go that way. Loving the danish uprise. So much talent out there. Hopefully the economic storm won t have a too
hard impact on future projects.

sgurin · March 12, 2009

??????? ???????.BIG ???????.
Good reshenie.BIG Well done.

IMHO · March 12, 2009

one of the best contemporary housing projects! rspct for all bjarke s kids.

Shawn · March 12, 2009

Does anyone else think that no matter what the form turned out to be, there's something fundamentally wrong about a program of 1/3 housing 2/3 carpark?

I would have thought that sort of planning would be forbidden is most European countries by now...

Richie · March 12, 2009

(Maybe some trees planted on each lot, a bit of conversion or extension work done on each house, etc.. will give it a more organic and varied appearance).

Richie · March 12, 2009

It's a very interesting approach with the mix of uses but the uniform array of identical houses is sort of frightening. I think I'd feel like I was living in a beehive trying to pick my house out of that grid..

bullaasf · November 15, 2009 11:30 PM

actually, this link with explain t better:

bullaasf · November 15, 2009 09:11 PM

from the outside the apartments make look (kind of) the same, but really, they are not! 1/3 of the apartments are not only different from the other 2/3, bu also totally unique! In other words, if you live in one of those, it will be the only one of its kind in the building...

NMiller · March 12, 2009

How is this scandalous? The housing is a little overly repetitive in form, but I find it to be a rather provocative planning strategy for a development that called for 2/3 parking, 1/3 housing..

Perhaps, if ever use of automobiles dwindle, the garage can be infilled with other programs that transform it into a dense mixed use.

Martin · March 12, 2009

Great idea with a better resolution.
More than 80 apartments, everyone with its courtyard and its own parking slot. Not many buildings in the world have this features.

roadkill · March 12, 2009

classic piece of danish crap... despite their 'democratic' approach the result is just scandalous

alessandro · September 19, 2010 10:56 PM

you do not understand the architecture

Neebs · March 05, 2010 10:38 AM

This housing is like a supermodel, it has the appeal but is missing some important things for a relationship to work... The parking space is nonsensical because it is placed in a city where nobody owns a car. 1/3 of the population ride bicycles and there is a subway stop located directly next to it. Both times I visited there were about 30 cars for the 480 spots. Also the hallways were very uncomfortable spaces. They were tight and the colors were like a slap in the face. Also very cheap looking and already showing wear.

pete · March 11, 2009

SORRY, but It's Horrible

odris · March 11, 2009

wow, stunning!


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Mountain Dwellings / PLOT = BIG + JDS