8 House / BIG

© Jens Lindhe
© Jens Lindhe

Celebrating its third project with the same development team in the maturing neighborhood of Orestad, the construction of the 61,000 sqm 8 House has come to an end, allowing people to bike all the way from the street up to its 10th level penthouses alongside terraced gardens where the first residents have already moved in.  Follow the break and you can find images of 8 House at night, interiors, gardens, and diagrams along with a more detailed project description and quotes from the architects.

You can also check our previous feature on the construction of this amazing project.

Architect: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group
Location: ,
Collaboration: Hopfner Partners, MOE & Brodsgaard, KLAR
Partner-In-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen
Project Leader: Ole Elkjaer-Larsen, Henrick Poulsen
Project Manager: Finn Norkjaer, Henrik Lund
Project Team: Dennis Rasmussen, Rune Hansen, Agustin Perez Torres, Annette Jensen, Carolien Schippers, Caroline Vogelius Wiener, Claus Tversted, David Duffus, Hans Larsen, Jan Magasanik, Anders Nissen, Christian Alvarez Gomez, Hjalti Gestsson, Johan Cool, James Duggan Schrader, Jakob Lange, Kirstine Ragnhild, Jakob Monefeldt, Jeppe Marling Kiib, Joost Van Nes, Kasia Brzusnian, Kasper Broendum Larsen, Louise Heboell, Maria Sole Bravo, Ole Nannberg, Pablo Labra, Pernille Uglvig Jessen, Peter Rieff, Peter Voigt Albertsen, Peter Larsson, Rasmus Kragh Bjerregaard, Richard Howis, Soeren Lambertsen, Eduardo Perez, Ondrej Tichy, Sara Sosio, Karsten Hammer Hansen, Christer Nesvik, Soeren Peter Kristensen, Lacin Karaoz, Marcello Cova, Luis Felipe González Delgado, Janghee Yoo, SunMing Lee
Client:
St. Frederikslund Holding
Project Area: 61,000 sqm, 476 residences
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Dragor Luft, Jens Lindhe, Ty Stange

© Jens Lindhe
© Jens Lindhe

The bowtie-shaped 61,000 sqm mixed-use building of three different types of residential housing and 10,000 sqm of retail and offices comprises Denmark’s largest private development ever undertaken. Commissioned by St. Frederikslund and Per Hopfner in 2006, the 8 House sits on the outer edge of the city as the southern most outpost of Orestad. 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 city, where business and housing co-exist.

“We have now completed three remarkable buildings in Orestad, the VM Houses, The Mountain and finally the 8 House – which is the sole result of a good and constructive collaboration with talented young architects who had a good understanding for the economical aspects,” Per Hopfner, Hopfner Partners.

 Jens Lindhe

The 8 House creates two intimate interior courtyards, separated by the centre of the cross which houses 500 sqm of communal facilities available for all residents. At the very same spot, the building is penetrated by a 9 meter wide passage that allows people to easily move from the park area on its western edge to the water filled canals to the east. Instead of dividing the different functions of the building – for both habitation and trade – into separate blocks, the various functions have been spread out horizontally.

“The apartments are placed at the top while the commercial program 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 emphasized by the shape of 8 House which is literally hoisted up in the Northeast corner and pushed down at the Southwest corner, allowing light and air to enter the southern courtyard,” Thomas Christoffersen, Partner in Charge, 8 House, BIG.

© Jens Lindhe
© Jens Lindhe

A continuous public path stretches from street level to the penthouses and 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 sqm are strategically placed to reduce the urban heat island effect as well as providing the visual identity to the project and tying it back to the adjacent farmlands towards the south.

“8 House is a three-dimensional neighborhood rather than an architectural object. An alley of 150 rowhouses stretches through the entire block and twists all the way from street level to the top and down again. Where social life, the spontaneous encounter and neighbor interaction traditionally is restricted to the ground level, the 8 House allows it to expand all the way to the top,” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

© Jens Lindhe
© Jens Lindhe

The 8 House uses size to its advantage by creating immense differences in height thereby creating a unique sense of community with small gardens and pathways that remind you of the intimacy of an Italian hill town. With spectacular views towards the Copenhagen Canal and Kalvebod Faelled’s protected open spaces, 8 House provides residences to people in all of life’s stages through its 476 housing units, including apartments of varied sizes, penthouses and townhouses as well as office spaces to the city’s business and trade in one single building.

“8 House is our second realized example of architectural alchemy – the idea that by mixing traditional ingredients, retail, row- houses and apartments in untraditional ways – you create added value if not gold. The mix allows the individual activities to find their way to the most ideal location within the common framework – the retail facing street, the offices towards northern light and the residences with sun and views to the open spaces. 8 House is a perimeter block that morphs into a knot, twisting and turning to maximize the life quality of its many inhabitants,” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "8 House / BIG" 20 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 31 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=83307>

48 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    if they continue to construct neighboring buildings with separate identities, no relation to each other and overall strategy, wont it end up as a theme park ?.. as for the project – attractive and looks livable, i’d like to have a flat there.

    • Thumb up Thumb down +2

      i agree with you , there approach in architecture is really good & also there ideas but keep doing neighborhoods projects this way might make some serious issues .

  2. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    BIG’s architecture terrifies me, what does the future hold for building’s like this? There is no sense of community, the building stands isolated in its own world within the disaster that is Orestad. Can anybody honestly sat they would like to live their life and grow old in a place this? Its depressing.

    • Thumb up Thumb down +11

      I´d LOVE to live the rest of my life in such a outstanding place…!

  3. Thumb up Thumb down -4

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  4. Thumb up Thumb down -3

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  5. Thumb up Thumb down +6

    What captivated me is how the building form evolves as a result of the functional considerations made by the architects, which is in total contrast to the current norm in the architectural world- where form is everything. This is a perfect demonstration of “form follows function” in Architecture…

  6. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    I think these proyect is a good idea to make the most of a reduced area of ground, in a big city (even tho its a huge area)… im not familiarized with the life style at Copenhagen, Denmark, but i know europe is constantly using the most out of a minimum space… Also it uses the sun as a source of heat and power, and i think its a huge advantage to the proyect, since it reduces the cost of electricity and its bio friendly wont you think?.

    i havent seen the blueprints of the houses or lofts … that would be a good reference to see how comfortable are the living spaces…

    but for me… he is selling it jejeje

  7. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    amazing presentation! performed at the highest level! top notvh! bravo! cocnept is solid, atractive and GREEN! as long as it is the the only neibhorhood like this around it’s all good urban planingwise, it’s eather that or they have to built the majority neibhoorhoods like that in bigger pease of the land, it would distort the cities unity if you put severeal of those randomly located from each other. other than that again BRAVO!

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i truly love the architecture coming from BIG. they really push the idea of urban into architectural form. the only problem is that urban takes time… right now each and every one of his projects have latent potential. it will take years before these communities find urban within their surroundings. the question is are they willing to wait? orestad is a transit corridor producing a more suitable form of sprawl… but its sprawl none the less. (one of the biggest malls in denmark is just around the corner… good luck attracting economic life to the area.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    It’s hard to argue with the diagram, but the finished product at pedestrian level is an unappealing heap of a machine.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down +6

    Like any other building, this housing project should be seen in person.

    In the neighborhood of Orestad we visited the hyped VM houses, by BIG as well, and it was a disappointment: no relation to the other buildings, and no relation to the neighborhood.

    See our (unofficial) pictures at http://www.house42.com/2008/12/10/vm-houses-copenhagen/

  11. Thumb up Thumb down +9

    well when saying that it has no contact with surroundings etc of course it’s true, but the problem is that there are NO surroundings there?!

    something has to be built first

    if this was built in the middle of copenhagen it would be a great way of remodeling the classic urban block at the same time as you’re densifying the city by stacking suburbs on top of each other

    so maybe this is a bit ahead of it’s time, literally speaking

    maybe it will flourish once orestad has densified and started to live

  12. Thumb up Thumb down +4

    I don’t understand how this work of ‘architecture’ is different from 60′s social housing experiments that for the most part, ended up being torn down 20 years later…

    I agree with “Orange nyc” calling his work “dumbed down” There’s modern, there’s minimalist, then there’s dumbed down.

    This constant praising of BIG’s work needs to stop, this office is concerned more with Public Relations than it is with real architectural issues. BIG is building some of the most obnoxious, insensitive and hidious buildings out there.

    In less than 10 years from now people and cities are going to regret having allowed BIG build such ‘spectacles’…

    • Thumb up Thumb down +2

      You took the words out of my mouth.. I’m not as anti-BIG as you seem, but some of the projects like this one bring images of some of the worst areas here in my city of New York, and really, the only difference is they are brick.

    • Thumb up Thumb down +3

      Many post-WWll social housing experiments have failed, while others still prosper. Funny thing is, some have identical architecture. Social failure rarely flows from architectural indifference, though nice if it did (We’d get better buildings).

  13. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    let’s face it, all of us, architects, it’s iconic representation of our failure, failure of architecture, developer rules in society now.

  14. Thumb up Thumb down +5

    I’ve visited the building this summer. From afar, approaching the building along the Orestad Blvd, it is plain ugly. But once you are inside, there is much to like. The apartments have a great feeling of space and wonderful views. Also the public circulation on and around the building looks like it will work and be used. I hope it will create a lot of social interaction – and I believe it will. The view over the courtyard between the two sloping roofs is just brilliant.
    Also, the design of the courtyards is appealing.

    We shouldn’t judge BIG on the dense project, that was the brief they got. I think they implemented the density in a very original and intelligent way.

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Nothing like a little jealousy from the colleagues. I’m always curious about the project portofolio of people that make such harsh criticisms about other architect’s work.

  16. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    So, after all of that public media noise.. how many of the ideas actually came through? Would you be able to run on the top of that building?..
    Let’s say that they have good ideas but they end up with just regular ok buildings in the end.. I don’t like the fact that they are extremely populist, all they care is their image and reputation, but they don’t defend it when it comes to bringing the projects into reality..
    I’m really not a fan of BIG (though I guess you could tell..) Their approach is really Arnold Schwarzenegger-like for me..

  17. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i think it’s perhaps a bit rough around the edges and could definitely do with a little more park-like greenery/social spaces on the upper levels, BUT the concept of such dense housing mixed with urban living is the only rational and suitable way to go…
    individual houses simply take up too much space and infrastructure to be environmentally/econimically sound, small urban ‘cities within cities’ such as this one seem like the right way to go

  18. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I like BIG’s thoughts in this project, combining different kinds of appartments and having public functions integrated in the ground level, and a road surrounding the building. The appartments are not that expensive either, so ordinary people can live here as well.

    But when I visited the place, I was disappointed. The finish looks cheap and like bad craftmanship. The courtyard felt small and dark, and the metal facades and pointy shapes are scary, also giving the courtyard the worst acustics. The appartment plans aren’t that clever, with many stairs inside the appartments and quite some waste space.

    The best part of the project is the view on nature, since it’s anyway so far away from the center of the city, that city life doesn’t make much sense here. But I would have prefered a building that would merge more with nature.

    The idea behind this project is great, but the execution unfortunately not that good.

    • Thumb up Thumb down +4

      Hello Lullue, your comment really exposes the reality, perhaps the designers were only good at the virtual level. If that is the case, then the presentation is a clear contradiction to what they actually implemented.

  19. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    This project captures so much of what is wrong with modern architecture. It’s hard not to be seduced by the bravado of the presentation. The project seems so well rationalised, so intellectually rigorous. And yet any feeling person would surely struggle to love the final product. Sure it has some cool details, but it seems to have no relation with what it means to be human, or to human sociality. Who could fondly remember a childhood spent playing in that ‘garden’?

    The chasm between its aspirations and its realisation is beautifully outlined by the reference to the Campanile di San Marco. When it appears in the presentation you want to high-five the architect – and then you watch as that buildings elegance, its beauty, turns into another banal extrusion-with-a-twist.

    To me it’s Glasgow rebranded.

  20. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I think this project creates a very complex argument challenging architecture of the 21st century. If we are to believe there is a perfect kind of architecture, where do we draw the line between a developer’s ambition and social justice? Is this even possible to define today? It seems that the issue is notsomuch with the architect, as it is with the people that choose/desire to live in these concrete jungles that ultimately disconnect us from one another causing those to feel suspended in a reality void of human consciousness and comfort. While I can’t comment on the success/failure of this project without experiencing it myself, it is sad to hear that many felt the reality of this built project was seemingly nothing like the virtual world created at BIG (particularly when its simplicity seemed so obvious and compelling).

  21. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I have not visited it too, so I can speak about what I have seen on all the pictures. Firstly, I’m not a BIG fan but I mostly like what they do, but this project really turned out better than I thought.
    As some have said, it’s too huge, which is true, but I think that with all the fragmentation of the facades (which correlates with the function, as Usman said), it gets somehow natural appearance, reducing the MEGAHOUSE feeling. (It can be compared to a forest with different trees and chaos in it, so not being “dull”). The chaos of BIG’s architecture reminds of Rem Koolhaas’ chaotic stacking of ideas, and the result is very good for both of them (The aesthetics of 8 house are similar to Dutch Embassy-Berlin).
    So this balance between chaos (playfullness) and order is really appealing to me, there are different facade schemes used, + variations in the schemes. Also the material choice seems right (as seen on the pictures) – pragmatical and serious.
    That is why it for sure dramatically differs from Grande Motte and the bad modernist architecture.

    The interior seems good too. What is important is that for me as a somewhat spiritual person the house gives the right feeling. It is like machine, but a living machine, maybe like an organic machine, a human or animal body, functioning according to particular situations, being pleasant for living.

  22. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I have not visited it too, so I can speak about what I have seen on all the pictures. Firstly, I’m not a BIG fan but I mostly like what they do, but this project really turned out better than I thought.
    As some have said, it’s too huge, which is true, but I think that with all the fragmentation of the facades (which correlates with the function, as Usman said), it gets somehow natural appearance, reducing the MEGAHOUSE feeling. (It can be compared to a forest with different trees and chaos in it, so not being “dull”). The chaos of BIG’s architecture reminds of Rem Koolhaas’ chaotic stacking of ideas, and the result is very good for both of them (The aesthetics of 8 house are similar to Dutch Embassy-Berlin).
    So this balance between chaos (playfullness) and order is really appealing to me, there are different facade schemes used, + variations in the schemes. Also the material choice seems right (as seen on the pictures) – pragmatical and serious.
    That is why it for sure dramatically differs from Grande Motte and the bad modernist architecture.

    The interior seems good too. What is important is that for me as a somewhat spiritual person the house gives the right feeling. It is like a machine, but a living machine, maybe like an organic machine, a human or animal body, functioning according to particular situations, being pleasant for living.

  23. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I think the issue with this design is context. Orestad, (from what I’ve seen in the pictures) seems like a really slow, slightly boring suburban area. While this house was designed for a more of an inner city living. Because his original concepts of the rows, the gardens on top and courtyard would have all be far more valued if it was in a densely populated urban area where any greenery is precious and sparse.
    However, in Orestad, where there is green all around, the 8 house’s original concept of a little oasis in the concrete urban fabric seems superfluous and artificial. However, if the development are planing to turn Orestad into a vibrant urban neighbourhood, then having this kind of building built first is definitely a step into the right direction.
    Though it’ll be hard to imagine a sunset as gorgeous and spiritual as that one if the building was surrounded by other tall apartments :(

  24. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I think this is a really interesting project, but I don’t understand why it’s in “housing.” Should be in mixed use. It’s not really an apples to apples comparison to put this one in with these other much smaller scale projects, with (except for the slovenia example) a lot more site constraints. Also I’m not sure how interesting the units are inside.

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