Award-winning housing renovation
C.F. Møller's renovation of Himmerland Housing Association's Departments 19 & 22 is the Construction Project of the Year. The housing company's director is pleased with this. "The residential value and level of safety have increased considerably – we've got more out of this than expected," he says.
On 9 December 2015, Himmerland Housing Association's Departments 19 & 22 was nominated as the Construction Project of the Year 2015. This was based on the assessment of a jury consisting of some of the key profiles in the Danish construction sector.
"This is a big accolade for the effort we've put into the project," says Søren Tortzen, head of department at C.F. Møller's Aalborg department and the architect responsible for the conversion.
"We've managed to create an overall complex of high quality on the basis of a relatively low construction budget. The quality of Departments 19 & 22 has increased significantly," he says.
A whole new residential setting
The 370 public housing units in Departments 19 & 22 have been converted and renovated to ensure that they are up-to-date and future proofed, with the landscape and outdoor areas providing a whole new approach and access to the area. The is emphasised by Ole Nielsen, director of Himmerland Housing Association.
"The really good aspect of Departments 19 & 22 is that a whole new residential setting has been created. When we started, the goal was to achieve a whole new profile for the department, to make it something people would want to buy. We've achieved this, and the architecture functions really well," says Ole Nielsen, emphasising that not only have the homes been renovated, but the outdoor areas have been completely transformed, thanks to C.F. Møller Landscape.
"The upgrading and regeneration of the landscape is of great significance to how residents experience Departments 19 & 22. A high degree of resident involvement has created ownership by residents of the new homes and the surrounding areas. Moving car parking spaces from a central area to adjacent to the individual homes has also had a great impact. This creates new life outside the homes, which means that something is always going on, helping to increase the sense of security," says Ole Nielsen.
Departments 19 & 22 are located in a quarter of Aalborg East that has historically been a vulnerable area. As a consequence of the extensive renovation, Himmerland Housing Association can now look forward to a unique resident mix in the area.
"The renovation has increased the residential value for the current residents, and we can, moreover, also note higher demand. Now we are also attracting the 55+ segment, who are selling their houses and are keen to move into rented homes, just as several former residents would now like to move back to the area," says Ole Nielsen.
"I'm sometimes asked by the residents themselves what we've actually done to get so many new tenants out here. But actually, we haven't done anything to achieve this. The interesting aspect is that we believe the quality of the homes is what's getting so many people to move in or move back."
The role played by C.F. Møller is one of the key factors behind the creation of the new Departments 19 & 22:
"The architects showed how they have a good understanding of buildings of this type – also for the residents. Having a committee to communicate with is vital to the building processes. C.F. Møller were good at taking this seriously," says Ole Nielsen.
The good process also means that Himmerland Housing Association has got more than originally expected from the renovation project.
"When Landsbyggefonden (the public housing fund) paid a visit prior to the renovation, we discussed details such as a new roof and façade renovation. Yet the project has developed into much more than this, putting an end to the view that it's not possible to change these complexes from the 1970s and 1980s," he says.
Guidepost for the future
Most of the major transformation of Departments 19 & 22 has been concluded, and even though the project is still very new, Himmerland Housing Association is extremely optimistic about the future.
"We can see that the people around us are impressed. We have people from within the sector visiting us from elsewhere in Denmark and also from abroad, to get new inspiration. You can see the changes, and we could view the differences between the old and new elements throughout the process," says Ole Nielsen.
"The renovation signals what we wish to achieve and we can see the very tangible changes that can be created. Departments 19 & 22 are an excellent example of this. It's been proved that we can achieve attractive homes and outdoor areas at the level of higher residential areas. We believe that when building and construction get it right, the project will automatically create expectations and satisfaction. This has been achieved here," he says.
Departments 19 & 22 are just one of three major projects currently being undertaken by C.F. Møller for Himmerland Housing Association. Concurrently with Departments 19 & 22, major renovations of Magisterparken and Department 3 in Aalborg are also in progress.