New masterplan secures Copenhagen’s first all-timber neighborhood

The new masterplan in Copenhagen, Fælledby i Vejlands Kvarter, weaves itself into the natural landscape. The new community was designed by Henning Larsen and MOE, who give a message on how we can live with nature both now and in the future.

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The new Fælledby masterplan is an ambitious effort to set a standard for how modern communities can live in harmony with nature.

“Deciding to build in the natural landscape around Fælledby comes with a commitment to balance people with nature. Specifically, this means that our new district will Copenhagen’s first to be built fully in wood, and incorporating natural habitats that encourage richer growth for plants and animals,” says Signe Kongebro, Partner at Henning Larsen. “With the rural village as an archetype, we’re creating a city where biodiversity and active recreation define a sustainable pact between people and nature.”

A central part of the vision is to create a new city on nature’s terms, where the existing and inherent qualities of the communities become stronger through a connection to local biodiversity. The masterplan preserves critical elements of the local landscape, such as wetlands and dry scrub that provide a habitat for insects, turtles, songbirds, and deer. In collaboration with biologists and environmental engineers from MOE, Henning Larsen ensures a rich natural quality to the Fælledby masterplan; providing a model of sustainability both in habitat preservation as well as its all-timber construction.

Village qualities

The rural village model, with its close-knit community and tight relation to nature, has been a source of inspiration for the design. The new masterplan translates these fundamental qualities – active street corners, green corridors, and a concentrated city center – into a new, sustainable district.

The masterplan is divided into three circular subsections, allowing a more intimate, small-scale sense of community to flourish. Wild-planted natural swathes run between these three mini-villages, ensuring free movement for local species and integrating nature into the core layout of the new community. In this sense, the three subsections are small islands in a wild sea of green.

In Denmark, the concept of building in the open landscape is not a new concept – for 1500 years the Danes have established villages and homesteads throughout the rolling countryside, always constructed in covenant with the natural world.

“Like the traditional rural village, the Fælledby masterplan stands for itself within an open natural landscape. This gives an opportunity to create an entirely unique setting and one that is especially sensitive to sustainable and natural priorities. We see a potential to build a new city that speaks to the sustainable sensibilities of the younger generations, to create a home for people seeking a solution on how to live in better harmony with nature. For us, Fælledby is a proof of concept that this can indeed be done,” says Kongebro.

An in-depth local hearing preceded the architectural competition, in which Copenhagen residents offered feedback to each project submitted for consideration.

“The winning proposal is an exciting and innovative proposal, unlike anything we’ve seen before in other parts of Copenhagen. The message from our dialogue with local citizens was entirely clear – we knew we had a responsibility to take great care of the community’s plant and animal residents, while at the same time building a sustainable neighborhood within this setting. We have a strong focus on developing the Fælledby masterplan on natural, local terms,” says Anne Skovbro, Managing Director of By & Havn.

A community of timber

Every residence in Fælledby meets high sustainability standards. By & Havn, in cooperation with Pension Danmark, has insisted that timber be a prevailing building material in the project, ultimately creating as sustainable a community as possible.

Fælledby will become Copenhagen’s first new neighborhood built entirely in timber. At the same time, residences within Fælledby will be designated for families, students and retirees.

The masterplan is the winning concept from a national design competition issued by By & Havn. Fælledby was designed in collaboration with MOE.

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