Vridsløselille, Denmark

Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Reimaging a Vibrant Community on the Site of a Former Prison

The development plan for ‘Vridsløselille’ will re-imagine the site in Albertslund, close to Copenhagen, which once housed a state prison by turning its rich historic structure and surroundings into an attractive, green district with a distinct identity derived by its unique heritage. Vridsløselille, a 160,000-square-meter district, will become a natural extension of Albertslund and its main thoroughfares. The flexible scheme will draw city life to the area where green parks and residential complexes are intertwined creating a strong synergy while making way for a variety of building typologies, urban qualities and common facilities.

The new urban area will create new connections and destinations in Albertslund, focused on creating activated green spaces, urban farming as well as movement and sports facilities. Important connections, sightlines, and local identity will be maintained and enhanced.

The main focus is laying the foundation for a healthy and social lifestyle with a broad spectrum of common areas and green spaces.
The site has for many years been a closed enclave, and the aim is to open up the area toward the city.

Vridsløselille’s story is marked by a gloomy notion of solitary confinement. Today the 160-year old former prison is facing a major urban and landscape transformation. The site will be rethought inside out by creating an integrated settlement with a strong focus on nature, combining a variety of housing typologies for a more diverse community and linking the area to bicycle and pedestrian connections.

"Our vision for Vridsløselille is to create a new neighborhood with a green heart for all citizens, an area that strengthens the social, climatic and landscape cohesive force in the city of Albertslund. We will preserve as much as possible of the existing prison building and integrate some of the complex's secondary buildings to enhance original qualities."

Kristian Ahlmark, Partner and Design Director

Our design includes five different districts with their own identity and direct access to nature.
  • Skovbyen is the Northern district characterized by urban villas among two forest clusters.
  • Bevægelsesbyen is the Western district with terraced, multi-story houses with semi-public squares and intimate urban spaces.
  • Grobyen is the largest and most populated South-Western district containing residential units up to 7 floors where community and interaction play a central role.
  • Portbyen is the Southern district along with the railway housing up to 10-story buildings.
  • Havebyen is the Eastern district characterized by more intimate Renaissance gardens.


Inspired by the unique relic of the past, the iconic star-shaped prison building is surrounded by trees which once stood as a security fence. The proposal focuses on opening the area and drawing new connections through the “Loop”, a new main pathway surrounding the site and tying the different districts together with the existing prison structure.

Project Team

Kristian Ahlmark