Danish architecture, with its trademark marriage of style and functionalism, has long been seen as a highwater mark in the world of design. Walking through Ørestad, Rasmussen was quick to point out buildings that showcased just this balance, with a fair bit of quirkiness thrown in for good measure.
“I believe many Danish architects work on the principle that they should give something back to the city whenever they build. Buildings are designed to fit their surroundings, and landscape architecture has a very huge part in the designs,” Rasmussen says.
The bold way in which architecture in Ørestad embraces mixed use is particularly fascinating, with car parks effortlessly supporting apartments, homes coexisting with offices and communal spaces, and many stops in-between.
Some of the most well-known buildings in Ørestad have been designed by BIG, the Bjarke Ingels Group. Bjarke Ingels, at only 42, has catapulted himself onto the international stage, becoming best known in Denmark for his Ørestad housing complexes, and now for designing the new 2 World Trade Centre in New York City.
The first thing I thought when I saw the façade of the VM Houses? That Bjarke Ingels had been dreaming about the White Walkers from Game of Thrones riding on Stegasauri. It’s shiny, pointy, and in-your-face, as well as weirdly beautiful.
The two buildings, on V and M footprints, are like two three-dimensional games of Tetris: of the 225 units, there are more 80 unique types. Central corridors are short, with light coming in from both ends, and sometimes described as “bullet holes” through the building. And those balconies are something else.