Ellebo Garden Room
- 2013 – ongoing
- Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
- Client: KAB, Copenhagen
- Project Status: on site
- Size: 20,000 m²
- Contract value: £26 million
- Competition 1st Prize
- Nordic Build Challenge 2013: Overall winner
- AR Future awards 2014: Highly Commended
Adam Khan Architects were appointed as Main Consultant for the renovation and extension of a 1960’s estate in Copenhagen, Denmark. The project includes 224 refurbished and 52 new apartments.
The competition was won in collaboration with Daniel Serafimovski and Price and Myers.
The vision for Ellebo Garden Room is a place where young families live and form rich inter-generational bonds. Affordable high-quality accommodation and the chance to express individuality and care for the shared spaces taps into contemporary desires of living well, with others. Ellebo is comprised of a matrix of connected rooms, with the open layouts of the flats connecting into the wintergardens and balconies.
Adam Khan Architects offer a radical approach, challenging prevalent models of regeneration. The most profound change is the reorientation of the existing neutral, heliocentric layout towards a vibrant central garden. The act of assessing and valuing that which already exists is a critique of tabula rasa development, bringing the benefits of a sustainable approach – from reduced embodied energy and reduced social upheaval, to providing homes that are dignified, delightful and durable.
The internal layouts are adjusted to give larger, double aspect flats, and the facades completely replaced, all without decanting the residents. This is possible through a surgical approach to the existing panel structure and by using new prefabricated façade techniques.
The facades are given a new hierarchy – the outer elevations are highly insulated, simple and economical whilst those facing into the shared garden are given winter gardens and balconies.
These deliver superb environmental performance in a simple robust way, but also give the residents a new seasonally flexible set of rooms. The balconies, vertically proportioned, articulated into bays and made of robust pre-cast concrete, form a dignified, elegant framework for the social life of the estate. This refocus towards the centre animates the shared spaces and fosters a strong sense of local identity. The new build elements of the project further help to give definition and coherence to this new garden room. An energetic process of resident engagement will transform the shared landscape from a barren municipal green to a lively and diverse set of gardens, by offering opportunities to unleash and cultivate the sense of ownership so often suppressed in public housing.
The architecture acts as a robust but nuanced frame for a more plural and diverse community to develop, one that develops organically from the existing group of residents and that caters for contemporary desires for individual expression and autonomy.