Ørestad district

Ørestad is the district of new housing development and ultramodern architecture, the place which was uncharted on the city maps just 16 years ago. However, today 8.500 people, according to the data of the mid-2013, opted for this area as their permanent residence. The area of Ørestad is conveniently located and a trip on a local train to the international airport Kastrup takes 6 minutes, to the central railway station 7 minutes. If you want to go to Swedish Malmö on the other side of the Sound strait, it will take you 33 minutes by train.

Good road and transport infrastructure is promising for Ørestad. These hopes were supported by reasonable steps taken by the local authorities. The first thing that appeared in the district even before the beginning of the housing development was underground, which was laid on the concrete flyover and fully electrified. It means that kit operates without drivers and any person can easily sit on a seat in the first row and feel as if they were train drivers. The journey to the centre of Copenhagen by underground takes 14 minutes, and what is pleasant for the tourists, Copenhagen underground operates round the clock.

For Ørestad everything started in 1992, when city authorities came to the conclusion that the area to the south of Copenhagen is too good to be empty. So in 1994 they developed its housing project, implying Ørestad gradual building up and populating. Finnish architects from ARKKI, who participated in the contest, offered the best housing development scheme for the area. It was suggested that Ørestad would be an experimental ground for contemporary high standard architecture. The district was to become a decent opposition to the historic centre of Copenhagen, offering the viewer the sights of the new epoch, built using eco-technologies.

Getting to Ørestad, a person seems to travel in time, because, on the one hand, he or she is surrounded with contemporary buildings without any historical context, and on the other, – the natural reserve scenery. This co-existence of the peaceful nature and dense multistorey housing reveals the core of the Danish approach to eco-urbanism.

Ørestad comprises four areas, linked by water canals, the surface underground line (6 stations) and a trunk road. It is easy to get to Ørestad from the centre of the city within 10–15 minutes by underground, car or bike. Perhaps the only restrictor for the availability of the area is strong wind, since the area has not been built up in full and therefore, it is subject to strong winds. Today the population of Ørestad is some 9 thousand people, around 30 thousand people work and about 8 thousand people study here. The total area of the district is 310 hectares built up in the mixed way: 60 % office blocks, 20 % – housing and 20 % – cultural, educational and utility facilities

By 2030 the population is expected to rise from 8 500 to 20 000. The first office buildings appeared in Ørestad in 2001, the terminal underground station М1 Vestamаger, leading to Ørestad, was laid in 2002, the first residential premises appeared here in 2004.

192.100 m² office buildings have already been operating and 14 other architectural projects were being developed at the end of 2013.
Ørestad development projects are undoubtedly business cards for their designers and architects. They managed to implement their most ambitious plans there, especially those, which were somehow created without a context, e.g. due to their large scale (in the historic centre there are many restrictions regarding the height, size of buildings, other technical details). Thus, buildings in Ørestad are like mosaic elements, which create the unique panorama of Copenhagen – with skyscrapers, gigantic windmills, a metro bridge, water surface and peaceful cows on the pastures nearby:

1. The housing estate of VM-House is built in the way that its apartments absorb maximum sunlight. V-shaped balconies perpendicular to the façade were designed for this purpose too. Near the entrance to the house there is a portrait of its investor, laid on the wall of colourful tiles. It is said that the portrait helped to raise money for the construction.

2. Next to it there is an estate called VM Mountain – apartments-gardens. Here architects combined apartments, each with its individual garden and a huge parking lot for 800 cars for this and neighbouring houses. VM Mountain has a shape of a triangular pyramid, the height of the apex is 32 metres, southwards, which is the side of the terraced apartments. The roof of an apartment downstairs is the ground for the garden upstairs etc. The multi-level parking lot reflects the pyramid shape, going up to the 4th floor. Cars drive in by a serpentine road, whereas people get to their automobile by cable railway. It is simple, impressive and functional.

3. The largest housing estate in Copenhagen is 8tællet ("8 Building"), which resembles this figure, if you look at this building from above. At the same time the estate was designed so that the roof touches the ground and any volunteer can walk along apartments up the walking leading to the viewpoint, which opens a breath-taking view of the area. In this estate, besides the principles of green architecture – two green yards, children’s playground and an individual garden for each apartment – architects created a wide price range of accommodation here. From modest apartments on the lower floors to posh three-level penthouses on top.

4. The centre of the Danish television and radio broadcasting DR byen, is an ensemble of 4 buildings, housing all Danish companies, related to the Danish television and radio broadcasting. For the development of this project, French architect Jean Nouvel was awarded with a Pritzker prize in 2008. This prize is an analogue of the Nobel prize in architecture. DR byen was open in 2006, and 3 years later the concert hall of the Danish radio started operating – it is a philharmonic stage with excellent acoustics and 1800 seats for spectators. Under the main hall there are three more studios, which can be used for concerts and records, each with its own set of equipment. Architect Jean Nouvel raised the lower level of the main house by 18 metres above the ground and hid the elliptical volume of this house in a netlike block. At day the block looks neutral — dark-blue, nearly black. In the evening and at night the backlight stands for its active life inside.

5.  Dancing towers of the Bella Sky hotel, which in 2013 was the biggest hotel in Copenhagen with its 812. The hotel towers, located on the territory of the largest exhibition complex called Bella Center, are inclined towards each other, like a dancing couple, and they are linked with a pedestrian bridge on the 23rd floor. The 17th floor of the hotel is dedicated for ladies only, so it was nicknamed a "monastery" in Copenhagen.

6. The largest shopping mall in Denmark - Fields, housing 140 stores under its roof. If one of your priorities in going to Denmark is shopping, then you must go there. 

Other photos of  Ørestad district:

Street furniture was also especially designed for Ørestad: benches, tables, signs, bike parking lots with company colours and a logotype. It should be said that the district is to be fully built up by 2030. Therefore, architects are enthusiastically working on their new projects. For example, in 2015 Copenhagen Arena will be erected here, it is also planned to build a new hospital and some other less ambitious facilities.

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