Community, comfort and more sustainability in Balancen
In the scenic town of Ry, there is one building out of the ordinary. Balancen in the Kildebjerg district is not just a senior housing community, but a vision of how future buildings can combine sustainability, beautiful and comfortable surroundings and, not least, a sense of community. The project was designed by Vandkunsten Architects.
Candidate residents have to wait until they are over the age of 50, because the Balancen housing community is only for senior citizens.
Balancen stands out not only for its beautiful design, but also because of its high ambitions for increased sustainability. Not only has Balancen been awarded DGNB Gold, but is only one of a few residential buildings in Denmark to be awarded the prestigious DGNB Diamond.
Diamond certification is issued by Green Building Council Denmark and is an exclusive recognition for residential buildings that feature some special architectural quality in addition to focusing on sustainability.
Diamond requires interaction between areas such as aesthetics and functionality, longevity, light, sound, air and the ability to promote social relationships. Balancen was highlighted as an excellent example of architecture that supports communities and promotes sustainable behaviour, has a strong development plan and impressive landscape design.
Vandkunsten Architects designed the project, which consists of two stages. The first stage with 33 homes and a communal building has been completed and was ready for occupation in summer 2021. A second phase with a further 68 dwellings is planned. These are rental apartments owned by PensionDanmark.
Focus on good materials and community
The 33 dwellings and the communal house have been built with load-bearing structures in prefabricated wooden elements. The facades are made of wood and brick. The dwellings are painted black, whereas the communal house stands out with its recycled, rust-red panels and untreated wood on the facades. The residents wanted the community's sustainability profile to be visible at street level, and the centrally located community building is a good example of this.
The dwellings are designed based on the idea of a community-oriented everyday life, with slightly smaller floor area in return for more attractive communal facilities in addition to the communal house, including greenhouses/orangery, workshops, studio, offices and guest rooms.
Troldtekt acoustic panels in natural wood have been installed between the load-bearing wooden structures. The acoustic panels help to ensure good acoustics in the otherwise high-ceilinged room, so that the sound level remains comfortable when residents gather for activities in the communal building. Troldtekt also works well with the other wood-based materials used.
Balancen’s smallest dwelling type is 55 square metres, with two others of 75 and 100 square metres respectively. All of them are light and made of wood, with good use of both space and daylight. A steep roof pitch gives an airy feeling of space and excellent light penetration.