Tietgen Residence Hall

Tietgen Residence Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark by Lundgaard & Tranberg

Photographs are by Mikael Colville-Andersen.

Located directly south of Copenhagen's city center is Ørestad, a 770-acre neighborhood-in-the-making, now in the midst of rampant development. Spurred by the bridge to Sweden, an existing commuter train line, and Ørestad's geographical location at the center of the Øresund region, 20,000 residents, 20,000 students, and 80,000 people working in the area are expected within 20 years. The most developed portion is Ørestad Nord, home to two universities and the Tietgen Residence Hall by Lundgaard & Tranberg.

In this northern portion of Ørestad, water is the unifying element. Two canals, one winding and one straight, hold the Tietgen in its location, providing for prominent visibility on both sides. Generous public space is provided around the residence hall for campus socializing and the ubiquitous bikes of Copenhagen.

The seven-story, ring-shaped building contains 360 studio residences, as well as a café, great hall, study and computer room, workshops, laundrette, music and conference rooms, and bicycle parking area on the ground floor. The massive project is broken down via five cuts that provide access to the residences (12 per floor) and the internal courtyard.

The architects acknowledge the influence of the tulou constructions of Southern China, though where the ancestral shrine occupies the central space in tulous, here that internal space is landscaped. The communal nature of this space is reinforced by the plan of the residences: private rooms are located on the outside with generous views, while circulation, recreation rooms, terraces, and communal kitchens face the inside; the last of these are within projecting boxes that activate this larger internal space. The cross-cultural, cross-temporal borrowing appears to work very well, accommodating public and private spaces in a way that strengthens them both.