The Green Thread
Principles of Sustainability
At DISSING+WEITLING, we care about the impact and quality of our architecture - we want healthy indoor climate, ‘livable’ operational rooms, sustainable materials and the use of natural light. Theses considerations run like a ’green thread’ through our projects and we take a holistic approach to all design and consultancy we do.
We address sustainability from an environmental, a financial, a social and a technical perspective, and what we do is rooted in local conditions and pragmatic use of resources. This may include matters of how and to what extent construction materials and installations have an adverse impact on the environment – e.g. the energy consumption embedded in the materials. And when it makes sense to use climate-improved concrete, or when wood is the best solution.
Sense of place, culture, people
We share an agelong tradition for focussing on people’s needs, designing from the inside out, and entering into dialogue with users and collaborators. Our buildings and bridges must exist in harmony with the surroundings and help strengthen the identity and quality of life of the existing community. This belief is always part of our basis for approaching sustainable design and architecture.
Our design methods and values enable us to implement our solutions in other parts of the world, including challenging environments and landscapes. This includes e.g. cycling and footbridges in Xiamen in China, the unique railway bridge Zweite Hinterrheinbrücke in Switzerland located on the historic Albula Line, the world’s longest pontoon bridge across Bjørnafjorden in Norway, art museums and educational institutions in Germany and many other projects.
We Provide Consultancy on Sustainability and DGNB
At an early stage of any work process, our sustainability managers identify the sustainable potentials of a project and counsel developers and other collaborators. We equally consider processes, materials and finances, and our consultancy may result in advice on certifications or procedures and tools.
Our knowledge on sustainability is systematised through the international certification system DGNB in Denmark and our own ’quality handbook’ (based on the principles of ISO 9001:2015), which ensures that our consultancy and construction meet the latest environmental standards in all design and construction phases. In practice, DGNB is a point system enabling us to conduct an overall evaluation of a construction or an urban area’s sustainability score.
Our DGNB experts can be booked for workshop on sustainability and certifications.
Green City Planning
DISSING+WEITLING’s expertise also include mobility projects and bridge design in Denmark and abroad. For several decades, the firm has contributed to the development of Copenhagen’s transformation towards a more livable, well connected and green capital.
We have designed bridges such as Åbuen Bridge, Quay Bridge and the world-famous Bicycle Snake, and we have exported our expertise within urban planning and bridge design to other parts of the world, fx China.
The Bicycle Snake – adding value, life and access to an urban area
The Bicycle Snake has become a symbol of Copenhagen as a world-class biking city and the joy of cycling. It is an example of how to create architecture that adds value, life and access to an area. It enriches the area around a shopping centre, which was characterized by being an ‘uninviting’ area, with conflicting interest between cyclists and pedestrians.
Therefore, we saw a potential for creating more than just a crossing. To unfold the ramp, stretch it out, curve it. Across the water, in between the buildings, and down close to the Quay Bridge. Hereby not only making it more joyful to ride on, with less steep gradients and better curvature, but also making it an element that could pull together an area with a multitude of incoherent buildings and meet the needs of different road user.
The Bicycle Snake has become a public success and cements Copenhagen's high standard of infrastructure and encapsulate the democratic ambitions and human-oriented approach of the welfare state.
Read more about The Bicycle Snake – Urban Boost and Added Value
Social Sustainability in Social Housing
The Future of Sustainable Social Housing (FBAB) in Seest consists of a cluster of award-winning family homes focussing on social sustainability and community. Right from the start, the solution had to be an example of renewal within public housing, which historically has led the way when it comes to creating new ways of living together.
FBAB is a new model for organizing housing in ways that offer a meaningful and relevant basis both for the ways individuals live and for reconsidering the spaces ‘in between’. The homes and landscape interact and create a new environment that provide optimal opportunity for creating new thriving communities. The houses represent Dissing+Weitling’s suggestions as to how social housing can be renewed and continue to be relevant:
- I believe we have achieved our main goal with FBAB within the financial framework provided: to design quality houses that are innovative in construction and layout and which help set new standards for social housing. At the same time, the project can be considered a contribution to the public debate, which, in my opinion, focusses too little on how we can make use of the original, good intentions of community and quality in social housing projects. The FBAB project is our take on how this can be done. The houses offer flexible surroundings and access to the countryside for people of all ages and an opportunity to be active within the family as well as in larger communities, says Partner and Constructing Architect with DISSING+WEITLING, Torben Lindquist.
The design of Orbicon’s domicile is based on a wish to increase the cross-disciplinary collaboration of the company and strengthen its culture and job satisfaction.
The building achieved a gold DGNB certification - it is equipped with solar panels on the roof and a district cooling system, reducing the energy consumption. The surrounding area has been climate-adapted through a green LAR solution, which means that it can process local rainwater. The wood is FSC-certified, and all materials are chosen on the basis of life cycle analyses.
Read more about A Sustainable Domicile for the Engineers
ECCO Hotel and Conference Centre is classified as a PlusEnergy building, as it is not only self-sufficient with energy, it also produces enough energy to contribute to the consumption of the original conference centre adjacent to the new building.
ECCO Hotel and Conference Centre uses geothermal heating/cooling system and solar energy, and the circular shape of the floorplan itself makes for the best utilisation of the available space with short distances within the building and minimum heat loss.
At the same time, all architectural details of the ECCO building stress the company’s fundamental values – sustainability, globality and craftsmanship – and the construction thus incorporates ECCO’s brand and offers users a sensory experience of the company’s values.
Read more about PlusEnergi Building for ECCO
Gold-Certified Pioneering Transformation
DISSING+WEITLING architecture’s portfolio of sustainable domiciles also includes COWI’s headquarters.
After its 2014 transformation, COWI’s headquaters was so sustainable that it – as one of the first ever – achieved a DGNB gold certification for existing buildings. COWI, which also offers consultancy on sustainability, focussed on getting a building with first-class indoor climate, lighting, acoustics and temperature – and thus being able to offer its staff an optimal working environment and indoor climate. In 2018 the building was nominated for the Renovate Award.
Read more about Gold-Certified Pioneering Transformation
Award-Winning Green Masterplan for New Residential Area
Together with MOVE Architecture, DISSING+WEITLING architecture is responsible for the award-winning masterplan for Degnejorden in the centre of Lejre. Our DGNB auditor helps ensure that the requirements of Realdania’s sustainability scheme are met, as prescribed in the competition material.
Central to the new residential area is a green connection, which meanders from east to west, connecting groups of housing clusters of varying sizes. It interconnects all infrastructure in the area and offers meeting places such as a communal kitchen, laundry and community house. The ground has been prepared for a modern, socially sustainable village community within close range of the bustling city.
Read more about Award-Winning Green Masterplan for New Residential Area in Lejre