Sluseholmen is a modern housing project near Copenhagen’s southern harbour. Designed by Danish architectural practice Arkitema Architects and Dutch architect Sjoerd Soeters, Sluseholmen includes eight housing islands that altogether consists of more than 1,000 dwellings.
Canals run through the entire area, reminiscent of those in Amsterdam or Venice. With large and small town houses standing side by side, forming continuous blocks, the atmosphere varies between an intimate canal-side environment and areas characterised by extensive and open views of the surrounding harbour environment.
Arkitema Architects was, together with Sjoerd Soeters, responsible for the general planning of the canal district, while also developing the shell structures and creating the overall game rules governing the proportions, materials and colours.
To give the whole project a diverse appearance, a group of 25 architectural practices was invited to design the many different facades of the houses. As a rule of thumb, at least five firms had to be involved in each block. The results are lively and imaginative housing blocks that are unique in Danish housing construction.
Green oases dominate the centres of the large courtyard areas, where residents can relax and play. The residential houses have between four and seven storeys and the shape and size of each depends on whether they face the harbour, the canals or the promenades.
“The concept is excellent. It very clearly displays the varying facades designed by different Danish architects, thus making it very unique,” said Jørgen Bach, architect and partner in Arkitema Architects.
The idea is that the building facades – like the Dutch canal houses and Copenhagen vernacular architecture from around 1900 – present great variation, while their inner structure is of a more uniform character. The special architecture and identity of the houses will strengthen the residents’ experience of living in their very own, distinctive building.
Another main theme in Sluseholmen is the close contact with the water. Bridges, wharfs and stairs that dive into the water allow you to get close to the waterline, dip your toes in the water or go paddling in your own kayak – experiences that all emphasise the quality of living close to the water.
A third distinctive theme is the attractive urban spaces. In the narrow intimate streets, you really experience the Dutch inspiration. Also, there are wide promenades, where the houses have a larger scale. Here you have a view to other areas of the harbour.
Besides the current eight housing islands, three more are planned for construction at Sluseholmen.