Mountain Dwellings Urban Development in Copenhagen

In Ørestad—Copenhagen’s tiny but buzzing new hub of urban development—a mountain rises from the flatlands. No ordinary geological behemoth, this sloping peak is a feat of residential engineering from celebrated Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group. The Mountain Dwellings stand as a beacon for architectural possibility and stylish multifamily living in a dense, design-savvy city.

Wearing a dark pinstriped suit with a T-shirt and Adidas tennis shoes, architect David Zahle stands on the wooden terrace of the two-bedroom apartment he shares with his wife and two young children in the Mountain Dwellings, the radical new apartment complex in Copenhagen by Bjarke Ingels Group (or BIG as they are more commonly known). Zahle points to the apartment building across the way, the VM Houses, also built by BIG, where a woman is vacuuming in her underwear behind a wall of glass on one of the upper stories. Grinning, Zahle, who works at BIG, then motions to the three-foot-wide planter box that blocks the view from here into the terrace belonging to his downstairs neighbor. "This," he says, summing up one of the key differences between the socially experimental VM Houses next door, where he used to live, and the structurally experimental Mountain Dwellings, where he moved as soon as the building was completed, "is so I can’t see my neighbor’s wife naked."

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Sally McGrane
Writer Sally McGrane flew to Copenhagen from her home in Berlin to visit the Mountain Dwellings. She was particularly impressed by the Victor Ash murals in the garage of wolves and moose atop wreaked cars.


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