Dortheavej 2 Residences


Dortheavej 2 Residences








6,800 / 73,195



For the Dortheavej residences located in the northwest part of Copenhagen, BIG mobilizes modular construction with modest materials, creating generous new living spaces at the urban as well as the residential scale.


The 5-story building winds through the area characterized by car repair shops, storage and industrial buildings from the 1930s–50s. BIG was hired by non-profit affordable housing association Lejerbo to create much needed affordable housing and public space in the area, while keeping the pedestrian passage-ways open and the adjacent green yard untouched.

The prefabricated elements are stacked in a way that allows every second module an extra meter of room height. By gently adjusting the modules, the living areas open more towards the courtyard while curving the linear block away from the street to expand the sidewalk into a public square. The resulting checkered pattern becomes the trademark of the building. Economical constraints often lead to scarcity — at Dortheavej, BIG managed to create added value for the individual as well as the community.

Conceived as a porous wall, the building gently curves in the center, creating space for a public plaza towards the street on the south side and an intimate green courtyard towards the north. On the street level, the building opens up to allow the residents and general public to pass seamlessly into the courtyard.

Large floor-to-ceiling windows in the apartments allow lots of daylight into the units and outside views to the green courtyard or the surrounding neighborhood. The size of the apartments ranges from 60-115 m2 and the materials are all kept very simple with wood and concrete in light colors dominating inside and out.

The housing modules repeat along the curve and are stacked to the height of the surrounding buildings. The stacking creates additional space for each apartment to have a small terrace, providing a setting for healthy, sustainable living.


On the sunny south side, balconies retract and add depth to the façade while on the northern side, the façade is even. Long wooden planks cover the façade on all sides, highlighting the modules and alternating to accentuate the checkered pattern.

Residents can look out from their balconies and the surrounding community can see the activity inside.


The small square created by the building’s slight curve is landscaped with cherry trees and spaces for bicycle parking – the preferred way of getting around the city.


The north facing façade looks towards an enclosed green courtyard which residents of Dortheavej and the neighboring buildings can use for recreational activities.

Bjarke Ingels Finn Nørkjær David Zahle Catherine Huang Catherine Huang Ole Elkjær-Larsen Terrence Chew Birgitte Villadsen Dag Præstegaard Enea Michelesio Frederik Lyng Jakob Andreassen Jonas Aarsø Larsen Laura Wätte Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard Per Bo Madsen Per Bo Madsen Sergiu Calacean Tobias Hjortdal Høgni Laksafoss Alberte Danvig Alejandro Mata Gonzales Alina Tamosiunaite Claudio Moretti Daruisz Duong Vu Hong Esben Christoffersen Ewelina Moszczynska Henrik Kania Karl Johan Nyqvist Katerina Joannides Krista Meskanen Liang Wang Lucas Torres Aguero Maciej Jakub Zawadzki Maria Teresa Fernandez Rojo Michael Schønemann Jensen Nigel Jooren Rasmus Pedersen Robinson Neuville Taylor McNally-Anderson Tobias Vallø Sørensen


EU Mies van der Rohe Award, Nominee, 2019

World Architecture Festival, Best Housing Category Finalist, 2019

Danish Architect Associations Lille Arne Award, 2018

Københavns Kommune, 2018

Copenhagen Municipality's Annual Building Award


MOE Cj Group