Vridsløselille Urban Plan

Enhancing inherent qualities

The proposed development plan for Vridsløselille, a 160,000 m² district, envisions the new neighbourhood acting as a natural extension of Albertslund and its main thoroughfares. As the site possesses a unique cultural heritage preserving as much as possible of the existing prison building as well as integrating some of the secondary buildings is key to enhancing the original qualities. This to support a strong sense of identity and help root the new neighbourhood in the local community.

Furthermore, the proposal suggests that the buildings designated for demolition are rebuilt with deep respect for the original geometry, marking the existing star-shaped prison complex as the star of the show. By converting old structures into common places for both residents and visitors to enjoy, the development plan encourages participation, sharing and social interaction in and around the buildings.

Vridsløselille is design to draw city life to the area by offering a place where green recreative parks and residential complexes are intertwined and create strong synergies across people, spaces, and different building typologies. Other features such as urban farming and sports facilities allow for social interaction through shared interests. As a truly unique place with many inherent qualities, the proposal for the development plan for Vridsløselille outlines a vibrant, green neighbourhood, which has the potential to become a meeting place for the whole city and the hinterland.

Vridsloeselille Sketches Axo masterplan Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Sketches titles Urban transformation
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Vridsloeselille Historical picture04 Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Historical picture05 Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Historical picture02 Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Historical picture03 Urban transformation

Albertslund consists of many residential enclaves, with their own distinctive character. Most of them are strongly separated by major infrastructures and face in towards themselves.

Vridsloeselille Diagrams City Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Context Urban transformation
Urban areas address the surroundings
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Green Urban transformation
Landscape enters in between urban areas
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Loop Urban transformation
Albertsloop connects the residential districts
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Neighbourhoods Urban transformation
A neighbourhood for all

The five different districts - Skovbyen, Havebyen, Portbyen, Grobyen and Bevægelsesbyen - all have roots in the specific place they are in.

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Vridsloeselille Diagrams Axo01 Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Axo02 Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Axo03 Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Axo04 Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Axo05 Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Diagrams Axo06 Urban transformation

Community and interaction play a central role in Grobyen, with its farms, square, and various edge zones.

Vridsloeselille Diagrams Axo close up Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Drawings Section long Urban transformation

Competition model of the Vridsløselille Urban Plan

Vridsloeselille Model Close up Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Renders Havebyen Urban transformation
Albertslund, Denmark
Urban Plan, Hybrid Mixed-Use
160,000 m²
Parallel assignment, 2020
Under design development
Freja Ejendomme, The Municipality of Albertslund
Landscape Architect:
AKTII, Via Trafik
Gade & Mortensen
Schmidt Hammer Lassen, BOGL

The development plan for Vridsløselille reimagines the site in the city of Albertslund, close to Copenhagen, which once housed a state prison by turning its rich historic structure and surroundings into an attractive, green district with a distinct identity derived by its unique heritage. Housing a former correctional facility in addition to multiple other historic buildings, the design is based on activating the area’s inherent qualities to offer a distinctive neighbourhood which will attract new residents and activity to Albertslund.

Inspired by the unique relic of the past, the iconic star-shaped prison building is surrounded by trees which once stood as a security fence. The proposal focuses on opening the area and drawing new connections through the “Loop”, a new main pathway surrounding the site and tying the different districts together with the existing prison structure. The vision is for Vridsløselille to become a neighbourhood with a green heart for all citizens, an area that strengthens the social, climatic and landscape cohesive force in Albertslund.

"Skovbyen" - The Forest Village
A central feature of the prison grounds is the iconic avenue with the equally iconic name "Egon Olsen's Road". The avenue, with a clear view of the prison entrance, represents a strong and distinctive characteristic, which the proposal embraces and enhances. Along the avenue, a series of three-story houses are positioned, aligning with the existing administrative buildings in stature. These houses all have a gently sloping roof surface - like a large mansard roof - which further echoes the distinctive slanted surface and spire of the prison and the church.

Vridsloeselille Renders Skovbyen Urban transformation

"Bevægelsesbyen" - The Movement Village
The area is situated between the large green wedge that connects the prison grounds to the school, the dense forest to the north, and the prison and prison wall to the west. Also characteristic of the area is a prominent existing birch grove.

The houses, ranging from 2, 4, and 6 stories, are arranged in rows along a small town street and a larger green pathway. The street itself is car-free and contributes to creating close-knit neighbourhoods. Here, people can play freely and observe their neighbours coming and going – exchanging greetings. The street is vibrant. On the other side of the well-lit residences, green fingers stretch and weave their way between the houses.

Vridsloeselille Renders Bevægelsesbyen Urban transformation

"Portbyen" - The Gate Village
This area is connected to and links the new district with central Albertslund, the commercial centre, and the nearby station. In this way, it serves as an important piece in facilitating the transition between a densely urban zone and the lower, green area that characterises Albertsloop. The area forms a central arrival space that opens up and connects to a green wedge with a visual corridor to the prison building and the surrounding park.

Naturally, this area has the highest density, and a significant residential tower of approximately 10 stories is proposed to be located here. For instance, it could accommodate micro-apartments, student housing, or similar units. This tower would serve as a prominent landmark for the area, visible from the bridge, railway, and the inner city. 

Vridsloeselille Renders Portbyen Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Renders Grobyen Urban transformation

"Grobyen" - The Grow Village

Grobyen is located on the former cultivation area. Here, there is an opportunity to achieve a relatively high density and thus create the feeling of a regular urban neighbourhood with streets, passages, squares, and nooks. The structure draws inspiration from dense urban blocks but with a more open and porous design that invites shortcuts and surprising visual connections. This is also where the greatest variation in heights, materials, and building principles can be found. The majority of the buildings have a certain weight to them, but there is also the possibility of facades made of lighter materials such as clay shingles, panels, and wood. 

As the name suggests, the proposal envisions reviving thoughts of cultivation in the area. This can be done through small gardens in the courtyards, rooftop gardens, or in the large central communal greenhouse, which can also be used for festive occasions.

The area is almost car-free, allowing life to be lived and playful activities to take place between the houses. The rooftop gardens are intended as a complement to this vision.

"Havebyen" - The Garden Village
This part of the urban development plan is located along the eastern side of the site. The structure takes its direction from the old workshop buildings along the axis. The scale helps convey the transition to the neighbouring detached houses towards Albertslundvej.

The proposal plays with perhaps the most striking symbol of the suburbs: the "box hedge." However, here it is presented in a more fragmented, even whimsical variation. The hedges partially create small private gardens towards the houses and, together with the prison wall, form a small, almost labyrinthine path with great variation in views of the prison, the park, the area along the lake, and, most importantly, the houses in between.

Vridsloeselille Renders Havebyen Urban transformation
Vridsloeselille Renders Søen Urban transformation

The landscape spaces vary, creating many small spatial qualities and niches that contrast with the slightly larger spaces and open areas with longer views. Vridsløselille already possess large trees and landscape qualities, and the proposal for the urban development plan leverages these existing features as valuable assets, enhancing the appeal of the residential areas. They provide fantastic green attractions and contribute to the creation of delightful internal spatial qualities within the neighborhoods.