”Ecotopia” is a vision of the sustainable city of the future based on the good life defined through a holistic approach towards sustainability. The project is developed with sustainable principles integrated throughout the creation process, rather than being just a sustainable design. This is manifested in our working process for creating a development strategy for the extension of Humlebæk Syd. A process which strives to realize the three main elements of sustainability, the social, environmental and economic.

Our success criteria for the proposal of Ecotopia are these; to minimize the impact on the environment, to do this in an economically responsible – and thereby realizable – way, and to enhance the quality of life and the social interaction between users of all ages. The main purpose of the projects is to create an area with high density of about 200% contained in 8 built areas of 100m x 100m. By doing so, 80 % of the landscape is released for recreational areas and visual qualities.

The buildings meet the landscape through a solidly defined square which is positioned powerfully in the landscape. This defines the nature and the buildings. As a consequence of understanding energy responsible architecture, Ecotopia is compact, functional, CO2-reducing, and above all satisfies the inhabitants, creating the base for the good and the healthy life.



558 ha

Denmark, Humlebæk


Fredensborg Kommune


Esbensen Ing.

Peter Holst Landskab


Delivered – 1st prize



Partner in charge: Anders Lendager

Employees: David Jessen, Christopher Carlsen, Jenny Haraldsdottir, Jonas Tesch Hallberg


The wide, softly waving moraine landscape that building site is located on has the potential to allow a housing project that respects the inherent landscape qualities. As well as this, the many small pools of water are kept, places that act as habitats for bats and amphibians. These species and other animals will still find space to live in Ecotopia.

Ecotopias eight areas are placed with respect to the entire landscape and specific local qualities. The eight places are carefully chosen, so that they are placed at the highest points in the landscape, keeping things dry.

The historical plot-structure gives a starting point and inspiration regarding the division of the area into smaller plots.

To a high degree the proposal retains the existing wetlands and areas with greenery and wildlife. The density of the housing leaves large congruent areas of landscape in between, which makes it possible to keep and establish wildlife corridors between the different natural elements that surround the plots. The bats habitat and their flight lines between them are also respected and kept in place.

The proposal develops a larger biodiversity into the area compared to the present situation with better living conditions for animals and plants despite more human activity.


The buildings of Ecotopia are arranged into 8 areas that all focus on the three cornerstones of sustainability: social/cultural sustainability, environmental sustainability and economical sustainability. With their roots planted at these cornerstones, 8 urban functions/programmes are defined to create a holistic and functional district. The 8 building-identities are:

The 8 built areas are connected by a network of paths for pedestrians and bicyclists and smaller pathways which progress through the landscape following an almost rectangular system. The positioning of the buildings creates a synergy between houses and nature. For this reason the historic landscape, the surrounding functions, the habitats and flight routes of the bats, the wetlands, and the natural flora and fauna are implemented as positive generators in the further development of the coherency between the built elements and the landscape.

The 8 building identities are:

  • The Green Market
  • The Pulse
  • Campus
  • The Forest
  • The Meat District
  • The Art District
  • The Plantation
  • The Energy Source


Ecotopia will act as the settings for a modern and forward-looking way of life. A lifestyle that uses the renewable energy sources of nature in combination with state of the art greentech solutions. Since the buildings in Humlebæk will be standing for many years to come, it is essential that the buildings are built to the highest energy standards with the purpose of using the natural surroundings as a sustainable resource.

Even though energy can be produced from renewable sources, we believe that the most sustainable way of handling energy is to reduce demand. A sustainable approach to the balance between energy supply and demand is therefore to minimize the demand without compromising on comfort and well-being.

Ecotopia is envisaged as a pioneering project that shows how it is possible to live comfortably in your private home, but at the same time be part of a collective project with the smallest possible impact on the environment. A life that become increasingly appealing both in Denmark and elsewhere. Therefore it would be worth establishing a knowledge centre in Ecotopia to collect and communicate the experiences and know-how gathered from the project.


The vision for Ecotopia is to create a district that gives inhabitants the possibility to live healthily, bike through orchards and flowering fields, lie in the grass, move through energy harvesting fields, pet the free-range cows, experience land-art in the morning fog, explore the varied housing districts, enjoy the sunset over the undulating landscape, watch deer drinking from the lakes – which together shape the feeling of home, a place that you feel at rest.

Ecotopia is the manifestation of an urge to combine modern family life and careers with houses that adapt to a modern lifestyle with good health, local produce and an active family life as ingredients.