Community, sustainability and upcycling are the keywords for a new wooden construction with 89 exciting public housing units located on Knudrisgade in Aarhus. MOE is part of the team behind the awarded competition project along with Q-Construction, KANT arkitekter, VEGA Landskab, Enkon and Frede Andersen VVS

“It shouldn’t be boring. In plans, sections and elevations this is a cheerful and lush response, one that honours the neighbourhood and effectively demonstrates that you can build places rich with experience and full of character with limited means.”

This is how the jury, consisting of members including Jens Thomas Arnfred and Kasper Guldager Jensen, describes Knudrisrækkerne – Boligkontoret Aarhus’s upcoming unit 80.

With the Knudrisrækkerne development, Aarhus City Centre and the Boligkontoret Aarhus housing association will have a distinctive new building that challenges the classic idea of what public housing is. It will be a building with a concept that involves the community at all levels – with units designed so that everyone can find attractive housing at an affordable rent. The development will bring sustainability right into the city centre and, with its five storeys, it will be the tallest wooden building in Aarhus, as well as being one that also reuses elements from the old registry office building in a new and distinctive way.

“With this unique wooden housing development, we are showing that it is actually possible to build a sustainable and innovative framework for the community of a public housing department. A building that is both constructed and functions with a minimal climate impact and which also has an organic and distinctive architectural style. A building that takes responsibility!” says Morten Homann, director of Boligkontoret Aarhus.

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Upcycling – from ceiling tiles to living façades
Boligkontoret Aarhus has a clear and ambitious goal of building sustainably, so that both construction and long-term operation have a minimal CO2 and general climate footprint. This is why there was a need for innovation. One of the innovations is that the project is reusing the largest CO2 culprits in the existing construction, namely aluminium ceiling tiles and windows. These are being upcycled to become part of the façade of the new housing – a visible sustainability strategy.

But upcycling alone is not enough. Therefore, the new wooden housing development is being built as a hybrid construction – a building system for which MOE, the team’s engineers, have a special affinity and experience.

“We’re pleased to be among the frontrunners, because wood is a competitive and highly sustainable alternative, once you get past the many prejudices. At MOE, we are fortunate to have a good composition of various specialists and we have clearly demonstrated that the typical challenges of fire safety, acoustics and moisture can be solved during the construction period,” says Bo Pedersen, Technical Director for Wooden Structures at MOE.

The vision has been to create a DGNB-certified building that honours the local area and its scale, but which will also contribute with new experiences in the surrounding environment. A building that, with double-height spaces and alternative plans, challenges thinking about what it means to live in public housing. A building that, on the one hand, points forward with an exceptionally sustainable concept, but at the same time carries the history of the past by reusing parts of the existing building.

“We’re building a housing development for the community – for now and for the future. It will be a good and green experience for the developer, the residents and Aarhus,” says Søren K. Overgaard, project manager for Q-Construction.