With the project ”Nybyggerne” (The Settlers), Næstved Municipality has raised the bar high with an aim to create the first sustainably certified housing project. Nybyggerne is thereby acts as a preview of the sustainable houses of the future.

The name “Nybyggerne” awakens associations to the settlers and founding fathers of America, who travelled west to build in harmony with the undisturbed landscape. The nature was tended, cultivated and protected; resources were scarce, and nothing was wasted. Today one might call it ‘simple but joyful living’. This mindset regarding resources and nature has been a great source of inspiration in this project.

With this project we want to show how it is possible to build new houses without compromising the environment, we want to prove that creating new buildings from recycled materials is possible, and that a house can create more energy than it consumes, and that you can create a contemporary housing project where many functions are shared.


Social housing

3.600 m²

Denmark, Næstved





Brdr. Pedersen


1. prize

Under construction

2012 –


Partner in charge: Anders Lendager

Project leader: Jesper Høiberg

Employees: Anette Orth Laybourn, Nikolaj Callisen Friis, Christopher Carlsen, Kirsten Jacobsen, Rikke Lequick Larsen, Sebastian Faurschou, Signe Munk


The settlers of America were usually not alone, because most settlers grouped together into societies in hamlets, villages and small towns. These communities were self-sustaining units where it was possible to buy groceries, go to school etc. In other words, the community, however small, had a collective and unifying role, because everybody was interdependent. In Nybyggerne the inhabitants will also have both these elements in their daily life – being part of Næstved as a bigger community and a life in natural surroundings.

We have created a housing project that is a part of the beautiful nature that surrounds Næstved, where the inhabitans to a certain degree will be self-sufficient with apples, cherries, ægs from own hens etc. The projects allows you to be yourself, but also always offers an opportunity to be part of the community, and the inhabitants of Næstved are also more than welcome to walk through the area on the new Settlers’ Path.


Staying true to the settler ethos, it is essential to work with all three parameters of sustainability, environmental, economical and social – at all scales that the project covers: The master plan (eco-siting), the cluster structure (eco-lective) and each single house (eco-struct).

Eco-siting is about the placing of the houses into the landscape through a careful assesment and use of the existing qualities of the site. This includes a strategy for rain water handling that partly saves resources, but also reduces the impact on sewage systems, and also a strategy for accessibilty that allows for a greater social diversity within the area etc.

Eco-lective describes the houses’ arrangement and organisation into clusters that acts as a literal translation of a desire to enhance the feeling of unity and community between housing units, a boon for both environment and the inhabitants. This is also visible in the way that sharing is thought as an integrated element throughout the clusters – car sharing, common facilities, common tools and all sorts of other things. Why have 24 secateurs, when 4 can do the job, if you share?

Eco-struct deals with the construction of each house. Here we want to show how working with parameters such as passive material properties, upcycled materials and possibilities for personal customization etc. it is possible to create a house with focus on resourcefulness, that is financially sound and has great spatial qualities.


Due to the many environmental initiatives in all scales of the project, the understanding of natural processes and synergies will become a natural and integrated part of everyday life, which will raise the environmental awareness of the inhabitants.

Through all the qualities that make this project stand out, it will also gain a special identity that helps underpin the social coherence of the project. Trust and confidence between the houses is an important factor in this housing project, but if everybody joins in, the gains are not just social, but also economical and environmental.


One of the main thoughts behind the cluster-alignment of the buildings is the possible social diversity. By collecting different types of houses, different demographic groups are attracted and an area with people of varying backgrounds, needs and possibilities is created. This variance is seen as a benefit for everybody, since different families can supplement each others’ needs.

The proposed housing structure also opens possiblities for varying degrees of community and interaction, and there are spaces and paths that are meant for everybody, the majority and the few. This also adds to the feeling of community within Nybyggerne and allows adding functions to the houses that would not otherwise be available for an average Danish family.


Through the many sustainable measures, the establish and running costs are improved by several percent.

/ By working with box modules in the building phase the highest amount of flexibility is ensure for the settlers – and the houses can more easily be adapted in the future.

/ Experience from similar projects show that by building with upcycled materials it is possible to save up to 80% CO2 emissions in the construction phase.

/ The rainwater strategy minimizes the load on the waste water system and contains the opportunity to cover 40-50% of the water needs of the families.

/ The production of food in the winter gardens and the surrounding allotment gardens increases the understanding of the environment and can potentially reduce the need to shop for groceries by 20%.

/ The shape of the house creates the possibility to effectively use natural ventilation to enhance indoor comfort and reduce energy consumption. By orienting the houses correctly, energy usage can be reduced by up to 10%.