Mountain Dwellings by BIG


Mountain Dwellings, a project consisting of apartments above a multi-storey car park by Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is nearing completion in Copenhagen.

The 80 apartments are arranged on a sloping "hillside" above the car park that has space for 480 cars.

Mountain Dwellings are next to VM Houses, completed by BIG and Julien de Smedt Architects in 2006 (shown left in the aerial photo above).

Here is some text supplied by the architects:


How do you combine the splendours of the suburban backyard with the social intensity of urban density? The Mountain Dwellings are the 2nd generation of the VM Houses - same client, same size and same street. The program, however, is 2/3 parking and 1/3 living.

What if the parking area became the base upon which to place terraced housing - like a concrete hillside covered by a thin layer of housing, cascading from the 11th floor to the street edge? Rather than doing two separate buildings next to each other - a parking and a housing block - we decided to merge the two functions into a symbiotic relationship.

The parking area needs to be connected to the street, and the homes require sunlight, fresh air and views, thus all apartments have roof gardens facing the sun, amazing views and parking on the 10th floor. The Mountain Dwellings appear as a suburban neighbourhood of garden homes flowing over a 10-storey building - suburban living with urban density.

The roof gardens consist of a terrace and a garden with plants changing character according to the changing seasons. The building has a huge watering system which maintains the roof gardens. The only thing that separates the apartment and the garden is a glass façade with sliding doors to provide light and fresh air.

The residents of the 80 apartments will be the first in Orestaden to have the possibility of parking directly outside their homes. The gigantic parking area contains 480 parking spots and a sloping elevator that moves along the mountain’s inner walls. In some places the ceiling height is up to 16 meters which gives the impression of a cathedral-like space.

The north and west facades are covered by perforated aluminium plates, which let in air and light to the parking area. The holes in the facade form a huge reproduction of Mount Everest. At day the holes in the aluminium plates will appear black on the bright aluminium, and the gigantic picture will resemble that of a rough rasterized photo.

At night time the facade will be lit from the inside and appear as a photo negative in different colours as each floor in the parking area has different colours. The Mountain Dwellings is located in Orestad city and offer the best of two worlds: closeness to the hectic city life in the centre of Copenhagen, and the tranquillity characteristic of suburban life.


CLIENT HØPFNER A/S, Danish Oil Company A/S
SIZE 33.000 M2

Above: 5th floor

Above: 6th floor

Above: 7th floor

Above: 8th floor

Above: 9th floor

Above: 10th floor

Above: basement

Above: ground floor

Posted on Sunday February 17th 2008 at 8:58 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Looks incredible. 16m high ceilings in the parking garage!

  • João

    really nice… i’m just worried about the neighbours living beside a mountain, not pretty sure if the area beside the building is an open public space or not, but i’d love seeing these apartments “working” or even living there…

  • Jillian

    Again, Bjarke et al does it again <3

  • Ian

    If you are reading this and you live in / are visiting chicago you can see the model for this project at the graham foundation.

    also only until march 1!

    also legos!

  • daniel

    wow this is incredible.

  • Orgmoy

    Bjarke is a badass.

  • Soupdragon

    Great Idea, well executed. But why did the client want 2/3 parking to 1/3 living? Which equates to 6 cars per apartment!!!???

  • John

    It is a public car park, thats why.

  • Frederik

    It is not intended as parking for the apartments. It’s general parking for that whole area, Ørestad. The apartments came afterwards.

  • janlist

    really nice,builded or not?

  • oscar

    can you tell me where did yo find those blue prints, because im doing a reserch about the MTN and in the book there are other 2 blueprints of the parking lot.


  • shearchitect

    there are so so many unused surface car parking spaces around the Mountain Dwellings, the absolute LAST thing this area needs is more parking! without density (and no surface car parking) this area will remain a total dead zone. the only people you see walking around it are tourists taking pictures of the facade.
    that said, i’m surprised its almost totally unsold,

    The article says “However, after 10 months on the market, only 17 out of the 80 apartments have sold. Estate agent, Home, has rented 39 of the apartments out for the revenue and a further 24 are lying empty.”

    i still think it is pretty cool.

  • hanieh

    hello…I need some plans and sections or any information of the mountain dwelling!if someone could help me I appreciate it.thx

  • PVS

    This is well along the lines of integrative architecture that needs to replace the redundant and troublesome architecture which is found all across North America. Along with integrated renewable tech, and bio-dynamic resource management such residential complexes become real communities in themselves, and this is exactly the direction that we need to move towards. We should be mandating innovation in community design all over the World, using as much forethought and progressive sustainable principles as humanly possible. There really is a great need for this direction of vision. Excellent work. Thank you.

  • Rohan

    With Spans of 10m x 10m how do they conceal the beams that protrude into living spaces? Im guessing they use a lot of false ceilings. And the toilets according to the plans arent stacked one above the other. They're staggered at different. I wonder how much extra this cost the developers. On the surface it might look simple, but the technical details are something everyone overlooks. They sure do give engineers a harrowing time. Im just a student of architecture N most times radical concepts just go for a toss cause figuring out the services reqd for successful implementation seems Impossible considering we have no real engineering know how as architecture students!!