In the Copenhagen suburb of Albertslund, the former Vridsløselille prison site will take on new life as an attractive mixed-use district with a strong emphasis on nature. The development plan for the 160,000-square-meter district will combine the design proposal by Danish architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and landscape architects BOGL with the scheme put forth by COBE Architects. The masterplan will center on the adaptive reuse of the historic star-shaped structure that once housed the state prison.

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A rendering of a grassy courtyard in between two buildings with brick facades.

Conceived as a natural extension of Albertslund and the existing main thoroughfares, the Vridsløselille development aims to reverse its image as a “closed enclave” by repositioning the area as an attractive urban destination for living, playing and working. The masterplan will feature a wide variety of common areas and green spaces to promote healthy and social lifestyles.

A rendering of people milling around a commercial area.

Schmidt Hammer Lassen and BOGL’s proposal consists of five unique districts, each with access to nature at varying density levels: Skovbyen, the Northern district with urban villas set amongst two forest clusters; Bevægelsesbyen, the West district with terraced multi-story houses that open up to semi-public squares; Grobyen, the largest and most populated district comprising high-rises in the southwest; Portbyen, a district to the South along the railway with 10-story buildings; and Havebyen, an Eastern district featuring intimate Renaissance gardens. The iconic star-shaped prison building will be at the heart of the masterplan and will be transformed into a community hub with co-working and recreational spaces.

Related: Amsterdam is transforming a prison into a green energy-generating neighborhood

A rendering of people milling around a grassy courtyard.

“Our vision for Vridsløselille is to create a new neighborhood with a green heart for all citizens, an area that strengthens the social, climatic and landscape cohesive force in Albertslund,” said Kristian Ahlmark, Partner and Design Director at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “We will preserve as much as possible of the existing prison building and integrate some of the complex’s secondary buildings to enhance original qualities.” Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, BOGL and COBE will work in partnership with Freja Ejendomme and The Municipality of Albertslund to further refine the masterplan for local approval. 

+ Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Images by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects+BOGL