Frikvarteret is like an urban village in Nordhavn’s Århusgade district, mixing various forms of housing: for example, terraced houses, courtyard houses, and flats. The buildings vary in materiality and design, but as a whole, the district has a human-scale feel about it with numerous tactile qualities. The buildings stand shoulder to shoulder but are not high, and sunlight beams down onto the area’s intimate patios, alleyways, and courtyards.
Frikvarteret takes its name from Frihavn (Freeport), which until 2014 was a closed, free trade zone in the northern harbour. Today it is a vibrant, open district connected directly to Århusgade, which in turn abuts the area of inner Østerbro.
The six terraced houses ‘grow’ out of a listed building – a living story about Nordhavn. It used to be a smithy that serviced the area’s maritime industry. Before its transformation into terraced houses, the building was an open space with some sub-spaces, constructed in a mixture of brick, concrete, and timber. The building has a full basement, and the old roof of the smithy was removed to make way for an extra storey. The red brick façade and the coloured grouting in the wall were preserved, creating a sturdy, homogeneous ‘torso’ for the new terraced houses.
The new roof rises to a height that makes room for a generous 1st floor. The outer walls are clad with Douglas fir, treated with natural tar that gives the woodwork a shimmering patina. The jagged shed-style roof is a reference back to the area’s industrial history, but the sculptural design and contrasting façade cladding provide an independent reinterpretation of a former industrial building with a clear contrast between new and old.
The terraced houses face a communal courtyard, from which you enter the houses, so there is a gentle transition from the street to the building and the homes. From the courtyard, you enter the hallway. The hallway leads to the large, through-lit living space, with the dining area facing the courtyard, the living room facing the street and the kitchen located in the central zone. There is a generous ceiling height of 3.5m on the ground floor, where the space opens up further towards the skylight in the roof via the airy stairwell that leads to both the first floor and the basement.
Together with the new floors, the vertical separations, and the internal staircase, the new top built structure is like an item of furniture that brings an old house to life.
Each of the six terraced houses is between 114 and 201m2.