Co-existence Village

Odense, Denmark

Client: OK-Fonden
Building Type: Mixed-use Masterplan / Dementia Care
Area: 70.000 sq m / 35.000 sq m Buildable
Project Status: Detailed Planning
Collaborator: NORD Architects


Co-existence village is an ambitious urban development that brings core value of the Nordic welfare society in front and creates a new norm for social sustainability. The masterplan innovatively integrates a dementia village into a diverse residential neighbourhood with housing, youth housing, collective housing, transitional housing, kindergarten, workshops, community houses and a knowledge centre.

This co-existence village is planned for people of all ages, healthy and sick. Sickness is a part of life – and this project takes that into account by denying the ordinary process of putting sick or disabled people into institutions. Instead the neighbourhood is prepared to include everyone, also the ones with dementia, which is an illness that often tends to start early on, when people are neither old nor physically ill.

The landscape in Co-existence village is weaved into the dense urban structure. Small squares, sensing gardens, pocket parks, playgrounds and blue-green biotopes create plenty of opportunities for social exchange as well as contemplation. There is space for having animals and growing vegetables – activities that contribute to the therapy of dementia patients. The landscape is strategically planned to help “nudge” people to stay in the area in a friendly way, which is important for the safety of people suffering from dementia.

Cars are kept on the periphery of the masterplan, making the central area a safe and slow space for soft traffic only.

A key design element in the new city is a continuous loop formed of yellow bricks reclaimed from the site, creating a “yellow brick road” guiding people around the city similar to the road in the famous story guiding Dorothy back home.  The loop is important for dementia sufferers: if you are on the “yellow brick road” you know that you will always find the way back to the same starting point. Community houses are placed by the loop like pearls on a string. They each have their own colour – to ease wayfinding and create identity for the area. Colourful and tactile materials such as brick, ceramics, wood and old fashioned colourful plaster are used to create the colour palette.

The district is expected to house around 300 people with dementia and with its size and original thinking, the development will be one of the first of its kind in Denmark, in both form and content.

3D Sketch
green view 171127 B 1280
Diagram 06 crop 2
Visualisering Yellow brick road og Rodt forsamlingshus UHANORD 1280
Diagram 01Diagram 02Diagram 03Diagram 04Diagram 05
View 03 Nord 1280
Diagram 06 crop
View 01 aerial without glow less sat 1280