Ellebo Plus is a renovation of four social housing blocks in Ballerup outside of Copenhagen. In the competition entry we have focused on creating a proposal that is innovative, sustainable, robust, contemporary, locally founded, functional, health-improving and also replicable, so that the proposal can set the standard for future energy renovations of social housing. Our entry strives to push the boundaries of what an energy renovation of social housing can do, and thereby show that with our approach it is possible to achieve so much more than just a new façade and an optimized energy consumption.

Our vision for the housing estate Ellebo is that the architecture will contribute to creating a fantastic, healthy, social, sustainable community rich in experiences. A place where clean air and water, renewable energy sources and resource-consciousness create a beautiful holistic and diverse architecture.


Social housing

5000 m²

Denmark, Ballerup


Nordic Built


Esbensen Ing.

Schul Landskabsarkitekter



Delivered – honourable mention



Partner in charge: Anders Lendager

Employees: Kristine Jacobsen, Christopher Carlsen, Signe Munk, Rune Sjöstedt Sode, Sebastian Faurschou


The master plan for the existing Ellebo is a rigid structure consisting of four elongated housing blocks – with entrances from four different sides – and a large open yard without any hierarchy or opportunities for rest or activity. The original Ellebo is, as most social housing projects from that era, built from the idea that equal living conditions would create equal happiness. But this has resulted in an architecture without any variation in identity or personality. Everything is the same.

The indoor climate in the building at present is in a sorry state. Especially problematic is the depth of the buildings which only allows very little light to reach the middles of the apartments, which is where the sitting rooms are located. Kitchens and bathrooms are small, inflexible spaces that do not match the expectations for current living standards. As neither indoor or outdoor spaces the covered balconies act as a type of ‘non-space’. They are difficult to define as part of the apartment and therefore are mostly used as an extra cupboard for storage.


The vision for developing Ellebo Plus is based on a search for the good and healthy life, defined through a holistic approach to sustainability. Our working method is always to integrate sustainable aspects – environmental, social, and economical sustainability – from the first sketch to ensure that the project is sustainable throughout and not just an added layer at the end. The strategy for renovation in Ellebo Plus takes hold of the common problems in this kind of housing complex which are found throughout the country. The principals for a holistic sustainable renovation can therefore easily be reused for renovations in other similar housing estates.

A clear intention with the project is to utilize the opportunities for community building that the more than 200 housing units offer, but do not properly realize presently. In Ellebo Plus the community itself will become a driving force throughout the estate. Creating a stronger neighbourhood with a greater feeling of belonging amongst the inhabitants is a goal that is reached through means such as establishing parts of the communal yard as allotment gardens.


A whole range of initiatives will ensure that Ellebo Plus will reduce its CO2 footprint. This is achieved through the use of rainwater, reuse of existing materials and a reduction of energy consumption. Energy consumption is reduced by utilizing daylight for natural heating in the apartments and by production from the solar panels. Rainwater is collected for watering roof gardens and for clothes washing in the common eco-wash facilities.


An important part of the project revolves around strengthening the neighbourhood feeling in Ellebo Plus and creating a varied built landscape full of surprises and activity. This is achieved partly through new paths of arrival that allow you to meet your neighbours and facilitate more interaction between blocks as well as giving people more opportunity to add their personal touch on the spaces around the buildings. Apart from that a much greater sense of hierarchy has been introduced to the outside areas with a wide range of activities that cater to different people in the very diverse group of inhabitants.


In Ellebo Plus we have focused on creating framework that ensures a healthy economy for the whole project. Effort has been put into reducing the building expenses but without compromising on material quality. This is achieved by using recycled materials and upcyle materials where it is possible. This enables better quality materials to be used for the same price, which as well tell an interesting story, which adds to the character of Ellebo Plus.