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Harbour Houses

Aarhus, Denmark
1 of 9
photo: Helene Hoyer Mikkelsen

Common greenhouses on the roof tops, adjacent terraces overlooking the bay of Aarhus, and a sheltered green courtyard. This is the essence of the Harbor Houses, a new residential complex in the port of Aarhus, which breaks with both the port's massive scale, and present iconic building tendencies. The project consists of 262 public dwellings distributed between 83 apartments for families and +55 aged seniors, as well as 179 student-housing units.

ADEPT have taken the best aspects of the city's existing block structure and reinterpreted it, providing a modern and sustainable expression on the waterfront in Aarhus Northern Harbor (DK). The simple building arrangement benefits from shared greenhouses on the roof varied building heights and sustainable initiatives that make the new dwellings robust and future-proof. The housing structure adapts to its context that, on the one hand, consists of large, industrial scale and on the other, a smaller and intimate scale with a lively maritime atmosphere.

Placing the building volumes along the edge of the site proved to be highly appropriate for the location. It gathers the dwellings around a large green courtyard sheltered from the wind and creates the best sun and daylighting conditions for the apartments. The development is built predominantly in brick, dropping in building height towards the water and the marina. In addition, the building structure subdivides into smaller buildings, marked by varying heights and subtle changes in facade expression. The building's division into smaller buildings relates to the human scale and creates affinities between the residents and the individual 'town house'. The sunny roof surfaces are furnished with greenhouses, common areas and living terraces with excellent views of the city, forest and bay. The remaining roofs are green surfaces for both collecting rainwater and supporting solar panel arrays.

The settlement is a 'zero-energy building,' which, with its solar panels and greenhouses, takes advanced steps toward meeting future energy requirements. Among the sustainable initiatives that put Harbor Houses in front, are thermal heating from 21 vertical and 150 m deep drillings, hybrid panels combining solar panels and solar collectors, five heat pumps and several energy wells. Grey wastewater is collected and recycled making up almost 60 % of the building's energy consumption. Both facade and materials was carefully designed to meet highest standards. At the same time, the dwellings are built within the allocated budget, which allows rents to be competitive, even among the cheapest on a comparable market.

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adept, January 20th, 2017
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