The Mountain

The Mountain, Copenhagen, Denmark, BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group, JDS Architects
Project year : 2008
Architect(s) : |
Address : Ørestads Blvd. 55, COPENHAGEN, Denmark
Latitude/Longitude : 55.63510615047707,12.582850614061996

Photographs : | | |

Text description provided by the architects. The Mountain is located in Copenhagen’s Ørestad City neighborhood and offers the best of two worlds: a close proximity to the buzzing city life in the center of Copenhagen, and the tranquility of suburban life. The Mountain is the second generation of the BIG-designed VM Houses: same client, same size, and same street. The program, however, is two thirds parking and one third living.

When asked to design an apartment block next to a parking garage, BIG saw an opportunity to explore a new form of symbiotic urbanism. Rather than placing a traditional slab of apartments next to a block of cars, BIG proposed mixing the two and exploiting their differences as a strength rather than a weakness: cars need large floor plates and good proximity to the street, while houses want sunlight and views. As a result, the parking is turned into a podium for the building’s 80 homes that form a stepping landscape of houses with gardens.

The Mountain consists of three radically different experiences: The Mount Everest façade, the colorful parking cathedral, and the mountain of gardens.

From the street, the urban façade encloses the parking. Since the parking is outdoor and naturally ventilated, the façade is perforated to let it “breathe.” By perforating the traditional aluminum plates in six different sizes, the façade creates a rasterized image of Mount Everest. What appears at close to be a pattern of transparency and opacity becomes a crystal clear image at a distance. Façade as artwork.

“The Mountain is our first built example of what we like to call Architectural Alchemy: the idea that by blending normal ingredients in surprising mixtures, we can create added value.” Bjarke Ingels – Founder & Creative Director, BIG

The garage offers soaring views of structural beams offset with brightly colored ceilings and paintings by Copenhagen-based artist Victor Ash.

The roof of the parking consists of the entrance galleries to the apartments. Each floor is given a different color, creating a dynamic rainbow from green at the ground to blue in the sky: a form of industrial fresco.

The mountain of gardens is materialized in purely organic materials: wood, grass, and ivy. Each garden has a private wooden terrace where the planters and parapets create so much privacy that it becomes an extension of the home. At the edge of the garden, the wooden deck turns into turf, at which point the gardens become a part of diagonal collective space across the different levels.

All rainwater is collected in a central tank and redistributed to the planters in dry seasons. A mix of more than 20 different plants that blossom at different times of the year turn the south façade into a living hillside changing with the seasons. A façade composed of the life of plants and people.

The Mountain is a hybrid combining the splendors of a suburban lifestyle: a house with a big garden where children can play, with the metropolitan qualities of a penthouse view and a dense urban location.

The apartments are transformed into a mountain of homes covered in green. The parking is transformed into a cathedral of car culture, with generous ceiling heights, light, and air. Rather than traditional parking, it has become a new form of public space for concerts, mountain bikes, and parkour athletes.

Partner in Charge : BIG, Julien De Smedt for JDS
Project Architect : Jakob Lange
Project Leader : Finn Nørkjær
Project Manager : Jan Borgstrøm
Collaborators : JDS Architects, Freddy Madsen Rådgivende Ingeniører ApS, Moe & Brodsgaard
Construction Manager : Henrick Poulsen
Client : Hopfner A/S

Contributed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group