Kongeskrænten (The King’s Slope) is part of an area in which new models for dense, social and green urban environments are emerging, and this provides a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for a long-term urban development that supports communities and neighbourhoods as the building blocks that will shape the identity and vitality of The Municipality of Egedal. The site is nestled in an expansive open landscape which meanders through a hilly downslope terrain marked by burial mounds and crossed by a protected dike. The project aims at creating a sustainable neighbourhood capable of nurturing diversity, community and high quality of life in close relationship with the beautiful surroundings.

In order to encourage interaction, and in an attempt to transform the traditional idea of suburban row housing typology consisting of segregated and identical households, MUTOPIA proposed to group several households in larger house bars which introduce a differentiation of the required building programme. By grouping the 66 households in 20 house bars with three or for households each, a mix of mini-communities can be achieved. By positioning the house bars at various locations of the sloping site, a ‘porous’ urban environment in close contact with nature emerges.

The house bars provide social diversity, with duplex and triplex housing typologies targeting a wide range of different users: childless couples, the young family, the family with older children, etc., all sharing the same ideal for variety and community. The offset of the houses creates a vibrant streetscape as well as front and back gardens of varying sizes: each household has unique views towards both landscape and common areas, as well as unique private gardens!

An effective three-road structure reduces the amount of infrastructure to the absolute minimum needed to secure direct street entrance for all the households. Half of the required car parking is accommodated on the plots, with the rest placed along the roads in semi-hardened green areas. The effective infrastructure leads to a pedestrianized family-friendly environment and larger gardens. Shacks towards the street define small private courtyards as an open transition zone between private and common areas, while shrubs and retaining walls define the garden edges towards the surrounding landscape, thereby turning the gardens into an extension of the nature which permeates into the area.

The disposition of the bars creates a large number of cross-views which increase interaction with nature and communication between the mini-communities of each housing barn, as well as optimized contact to a green landscape wedge which follows the protected dike crossing the site: a scenic element that provides a focal point for the entire neighbourhood and connects to the ‘great landscape’. Meadow grass, water beds and trees in clusters make a beautifully ‘rugged’ area which brings nature close to the garden edges - a great place to explore, play and coming-together with an atmosphere in many ways reminiscent of the time when the nearby King Svend's mound was built.

Integrated solar cells and a visible storm water management enhancing the nature experience, along with sustainable long-life and maintenance-free materials such as brick, further contribute to creating a rich and diverse community with an 'urban primeval landscape' feeling.

Client: Ejendomsgruppen Danmark, KONstruct

Program: 23.000m2 residential masterplan with 66 households organized in 20 house bars for a total of 9.250m2

Year: 2016-

Location: Smørum, Municipality of Egedal, Denmark

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Henrik Ulsfort, Ana Riesco, Giulia Ronco, Blanka Borbely

Collaborators: Årstiderne Arkitekter

Budget: undisclosed

Status: 1st prize at restricted competition, under development