Zenhouses stands where the city and the countryside meet in the new district of Norra Djurgårdsstaden in Stockholm. The site is characterised by Ferdinand Boberg's rich industrial architecture and is framed by the large green areas of the Royal National City Park. The 18 urban townhouses adjacent to Husarviken are designed with variation in their height and depth, in order to optimise contact with the surroundings. Zenhouses has been nominated for the 2017 residential building prize and has been developed in cooperation between the Erik Wallin construction company and C.F. Møller.
The name Zenhouses describes architecture with a strong relation to the site and integrated details with high precision. The buildings’ design weaves the indoors and the outdoors together, since the landscape and the outdoor environments are a significant element of how the homes are experienced. The Corten steel on the facades relates to the gasworks area’s red brick façades and the natural ochre colours of the Royal National City Park. The façades’ vertical lines are reinforced in the encounter between the Corten steel and the lighter wooden façades. The buildings’ folded façades and large continuous glass sections frame the private outdoor areas and terraces. Sight lines and double-high storey heights contribute to transparency and space, with daylight reaching deep into the homes. The materials selected for the interior are an extension of the residential complex's natural materials of slate and wood.
"The architecture of the buildings relates closely to the context of the site, and is a result of the need to design with daylight as a space-creating material on a north-facing site. The result is a three-dimensional interior and a dynamic exterior design that provides an exciting setting for various outdoor rooms, with space for meetings and recreation for children and adults. The building's geometry and integrated landscape design are epitomised by the high precision of the details and materials. The urban townhouse is a unique typology in Stockholm and at this site can be a fantastic combination of the advantages of a city apartment in the city and a villa in the countryside," says Ola Jonsson, architect and associate partner at C.F. Møller.
In accordance with the intentions of the plan for NorraDjurgårdsstaden, Zenhouses is part of an open residential neighbourhood. The alleyway between the two rows of townhouses is lined with entrances, private outdoor spaces and the elevated arcade that contributes social values to the quarter and the overall city plan. The landscape architecture and the vegetation interact with the buildings’ architecture and contribute to the project's overall life cycle perspective. The choice of materials and vegetation have Nordic ties, in order to interact visually and naturally with the surrounding site. Sedum roofs and vegetation in rich soil allow for biological diversity, extensive ecosystem services and stormwater detention.
The aim for the growing urban quarter of Norra Djurgårdsstaden is to be among the best in the world for sustainable construction and to be adapted to climate change by 2030. Energy consumption in Zenhouses is lower than 55 kWh/m²/year, of which electricity consumption amounts to maximum 15 kWh/m²/year. The overall concept for the building's total environmental footprint includes solar panels, eco-friendly materials, smart control systems, charging poles, highly-insulating insulation, etc. Zenhouses has been built to stand for many generations, with flexible layout plans and robust materials which cherish the details.