Books & films | Public Housing in Denmark

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Press release 12th July 2012

Is it possible to make a coffee table book on the architecture of public housing in Denmark?
The experiment has seen light with the book “Public Housing in Denmark”, which is the story about the architectural development of public housing in the 20th and 21st centuries. It was published on June 15, 2012 at “Folkemøde Bornholm”.
In 31 buildings a wide variety of public housing projects are presented. Several of the projects are architectural gems: They were the first of their kind in Denmark and were designed by some of the foremost architects in the country. Others have been more anonymous, however they have architectural qualities that make them worth mentioning.

A tradition of quality housing
Since the beginning of the 20th century it has been a tradition in Denmark that some of the most outstanding Danish architects have designed quality housing for everyone, which means that viewed in an international light the architectural quality of Danish public housing is unusually high.
The history of Danish public housing is not always rosy; however, even the most severely criticized buildings tell us about the time in question and not least the willingness among architects and housing associations to explore new and untried paths. Today public housing account for almost a fifth of the total Danish building stock and accommodate nearly every fifth Dane.

A Chronological Presentation

The publication is presented by The Danish Architecture Centre and BL – Public Housing of Denmark with the financial aid of Realdania. The book is divided into three sections with timelines of the most important events within Danish housing policy. The first section roughly covers the beginning when the first public housing was constructed followed by a period of development of the ideas from the 1930s as well as the industrialization of the construction. In conclusion, the last period covers the immediate past and present where sustainability, future security and renovation are on the agenda.
The book is photographed by Helga C. Theilgaard and written by Jannie Rosenberg Bentsen, The Danish Architecture Centre, Hans Engell, political commentator and Olaf Lind, architect.