Sustainable housing

Forty flats in five blocks connected by paths make up a small village with a strong focus on nurturing a sense of community. The development includes flats for young people and for families who have literally moved into ‘The Future of Sustainable Social Housing’.

The Copenhagen-based firm Vandkunsten Architects won the competition to design the new Lisbjerg Bakke project in 2014, and the keywords were sustainability and wood. Vandkunsten has many years of experience from residential projects, and often experiments with new layouts and materials.

The Lisbjerg Bakke development comprises three to four-storey blocks of flats based on a building system of solid wood and untreated wood facades. The advantages of building in wood are many, and the sustainable aspects range from low energy consumption to improved building practices. The five steps are: a wood-based building system, reversible building techniques, climate-adapted building design, a sense of ownership and community, and resourcefulness.

The architecture is extremely welcoming thanks to the variation in size of the buildings and the inviting spaces in-between. The entrances are clearly marked, and the flats feature large window sections facing in different directions. The views from the flats is one of the outstanding qualities of the development.

Few but good materials

The facades are made of untreated wood, and will patinate with time. This is unusual in Denmark, but Vandkunsten takes a pioneering approach to patination. Inside the flats, cross-laminated timber (CLT) has been used on the exterior walls, creating a robust surface while also ensuring a good indoor climate.

The first building includes a communal room on the ground floor, where white Troldtekt acoustic panels with built-in Troldtekt light fittings have been installed. Here, the acoustics have been a key focus, and also in the stairwells where white-painted Troldtekt panels and white-painted railings contrast with the raw concrete grey walls.


Residential development "Lisbjerg Bakke" comprising 40 sustainable flats, north of Aarhus, Denmark
Vandkunsten Architects
Troldtekt Products
Ceiling panels:
Troldtekt acoustic panels
White 101
Fine (1.5 mm wood wool) & Ultrafine (1.5 mm wood wool)
Edge design:
5 mm bevelled edges, K5
With integrated Troldtekt lighting
Text & Photos
Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect
Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect


Lisbjerg Bakke has been awarded the Matilde Baffa Ugo Rivolta European Architecture Award 2019 for its excellent setting for informal communities and the future-proofed architectural qualities.

Lisbjerg Bakke is awarded Building of the Year 2018 in Denmark and has received the Aarhus Municipality Architecture Award 2018.


The sustainable housing at Lisbjerg Bakke is DGNB Gold certified.