Vestersøhus: 500 Meters for Connoisseurs

Residential

Vestersøhus
Photo: Sandra Gonon, Arkitekturbilleder.dk
 

Along Sankt Jørgens Lake, the city noise seems to fade away when you reach Kay Fisker’s residential building. Vestersøhus set the trend for a new type of apartment building in Denmark.

If you aren’t a huge fan of architectural history, you will probably pay more attention to the bird life and trees around the lakes than to Vestersøhus. Red or yellow brick buildings with staggered balconies and functional apartments can be found in many Danish cities and towns. While it hasn’t looked new for many decades, Vestersøhus was pioneering when it was built in the interwar period. Each apartment housed simple rooms with no dead space, a kitchen and bathroom, and a balcony. No embellishments. No ornamentation. Just pure, clean-lined functionalism. Since then, thousands of residential buildings have been erected based on the same formula, but few are as well-designed in every detail as Vestersøhus.

Unfortunately, you have to know someone who lives there in order to tour one of the apartments. But if you take a step back, you can get an idea of the workmanship. For example, every living room has corner windows in the 500-meter-long facade, because the balconies are slightly recessed. An interesting feature is the lively play of light and shadow on the facade.

Facts

  • Vestersøhus was designed by Kay Fisker, who worked with C.F. Møller on Vestersøhus in the interwar period. Both made important contributions to Danish architectural history.
  • The building was built using hand-molded brick. Take closer look and notice how each brick is unique. Newer brick buildings use factory-made bricks.
  • Vestersøhus comprises 436 owner-occupied apartments and 14 street-level shops. The apartment sizes vary from two to six rooms.
  • Sankt Jørgens Lake is one of the three embanked lakes that extend between Vesterbro and Østerbro.
  • The lake is named after a hospital for lepers, which is said to have existed in the area about 800 years ago.

Nearby

If you walk all the way around all of the lakes, you will experience the city from multiple sides and pass through Vesterbro, Nørrebro, Østerbro and Frederiksberg. The walk is about 6 km long, and there are several coffee shops along the way.

The Tycho Brahe Planetarium is situated at the head of Sankt Jørgens Lake and is definitely worth a visit. There are films every hour, and on street level there is an exhibition about outer space. From the restaurant, you can enjoy a view of the lake through the large glass panels and there is outdoor seating in the summer.

 

Area

Vesterbro

Architect

Kay Fisker
C.F. Møller

Built

1939