Elkiær + Ebbeskov Arkitekter shared with us their winning proposal, titled ‘GROW YOUR CITY’, in the Suburb of the Future competition. The idea is not to reinvent the suburbs from scratch, but they believe that if one is able to identify their existing strengths and exceptional features, the areas sometimes referred to as “the fringes” may have the potential to become “the cutting edge”. Their design describes a modern area of suburban cultivation – “the Growth Zone” (Vækstzonen) – as a new residential quarter in the town of Nykøbing Falster. Its underlying notion is based on the broad links sweeping from countryside to seaside and on into the close-grained structure of the Danish fields and farmlands. More images and architects’ description after the break.
People living in Nykøbing Falster’s Suburb of the Future will show, quite literally, that they want their town to grow – because without involved, committed citizens the suburbs will wither away. Cultivating edible plants is an essential part of the strategy, and the key components are community, cooperation, and countryside.
Urban development – a physical and mental process
“What is suburban living at its best?” This was the main question energizing development of the winning proposal “Grow your City”. It brings the lives of everyday citizens into focus to visualize a robust and sustainable urban neighborhood for the future, coupling highly tangible design features with local civic involvement. In doing so, it applies elements of urban development on a physical and a mental level: People “dig” their city, they care about it, they want it to grow. They cultivate this in their mindset and their activities, giving a new focus to the core values of community, cooperation, and countryside. It is in this fertile field of tension – between bringing new qualities to people’s daily living spaces, and introducing new and engaging communal activities – that the suburb’s potential benefits must be nurtured and harvested. This is one answer to the future of good suburban living.
The pantry down the street
The idea is not to reinvent the suburbs from scratch. If one is able to identify their existing strengths and exceptional features, the areas sometimes referred to as “the fringes” may have the potential to become “the cutting edge”. The twin islands of Lolland-Falster have a proud history as Denmark’s pantry, and the project draws the cultivation of home-grown edibles right into the heart of the town, creating a new kind of suburb based on the region’s own authentic past.
The Growth Zone creates the overall identity for a suburb in progress: a place that combines the culture, activities, and communal aspects of urban living with the peace, agricultural self-sufficiency, and recreational opportunities of the countryside. A place where people can truly bloom and grow. The corridors and green structures interspersing the Growth Zone run through existing residential areas, which they redefine and upgrade, culminating near the sound in the new neighborhood called the Growth Quarter.
From old industrial park to new, greener living spaces
The new Growth Quarter, built on the disused industrial grounds of the once-thriving sugar factories, will be transformed into a unique residential area with sustainable living and urban-farming spaces. The strategy in the winning proposal is rooted in the area’s history and daily life. Existing buildings and structures are retained and reused, allowing the planners to preserve the location’s distinguishing traits. The special character of the future suburb springs from the turf where past and present meet: Industrial buildings, structures, and materials from bygone days are paired with high-tech energy-saving installations, complemented with the physical and emotional qualities of the area’s green elements.
The new living areas are structured around the everyday urban spaces, and the holistic thinking behind sustainable living revolves around the inhabitants’ daily activities. In short: Living sustainably must be simple, enjoyable and enriching. It is here – in new ways of life that integrate cultivation with habitation and comradeship in new urban settings – that we envision the suburbanites of the future.
Architects: Elkiær + Ebbeskov Arkitekter
Location: Nykobing Falster, Denmark
Sub Consultants: Gottlieb Paludan Architects, GHB Landscape Architects, Hundsbæk & Henriksen Civil Engineers
Advisors: REKOMMANDERET DEAS
Competition: Fremtidens Ydre Østerbro, Nykøbing Falster
Type of Competition: Two-phase planning competition, announced in April 2012
Competition Promoters: Municipality of Guldborgsund and Realdania Foundation
Inhabitants: The town of Nykøbing Falster: 16,500; New urban quarter, approx. 500 residential units: approx. 1,000