The winning project was conceived as a result of close interdisciplinary cooperation between Vargo Nielsen Palle, ADEPT, Rolvung & Brøndsted Arkitekter, Tri-Consult and Steensen Varming. The development will replace the Aarhus School of Architecture’s outdated premises in the old merchant’s house at Nørreport; originally intended as a ‘temporary’ home, they have been the primary facilities for the school for more than 50 years.See the full jury report, including designs from the other competing firms, here. Written by Patrick Lynch
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This article was originally published on ArchDaily as "Team Led by Emerging Architects Vargo Nielsen Palle Beats Out BIG, SANAA in New Aarhus School of Architecture Competition." Competing against a shortlist of internationally acclaimed architects, the team led by newly established practice Vargo Nielsen Palle (in collaboration with ADEPT and Rolvung & Brøndsted Arkitekter) has been selected as the winners of the NEW AARCH competition, which sought designs for several new buildings for the Aarhus School of Architecture and the development of the surrounding area in Aarhus known as Godsbanearealerne. The restricted competition consisted of three invited practices—BIG, SANAA and Lacaton & Vassal—and the three winners of the earlier open qualifying competition, Vargo Nielsen Palle, Erik Giudice Architects, and ALL (Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde). Vargo Nielsen Palle’s proposal was chosen as the unanimous winner. “It is a powerful project that interweaves with its surroundings, Ådalen, the city and the surrounding neighbors in the area,” said the happy rector of Aarhus School of Architecture, Torben Nielsen. “The new school of architecture will be a cultural hub that encourages interaction and dialogue. An open, pragmatic, flexible structure that allows for continuous change and adaptation to changing needs, and which focuses on the future life and activities inside the building. It will be a factory for architectural experimentation that will set the stage for cooperation with the city, the profession and our neighbours—just as we wanted.” The jury had been given the choice of nominating up to three projects to continue into the negotiation process, but found Vargo Nielsen Palle’s proposal to be so compelling, they declared it the sole winner. “[Vargo Nielsen Palle’s entry] provides the most optimal starting point for constructing a new school for Aarhus School of Architecture in terms of architecture, functionality, and economy,” stated the jury in their concluding report. “In terms of scale, the winning project relates well to Carl Blochs Gade and plans the many uses as a ‘city within the city’, where visual contact between the school’s diversified users encourages cooperation and mutual inspiration. The building structure is stepped down in height towards a central urban space that opens up the school towards the city and the neighboring institutions.”
A new exhibition entitled Sky's the Limit: The Engineering of Architecture explores Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)'s massive structural engineering portfolio. Exhibited at the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark, the multimedia show takes guests through the process of building many of the world’s tallest buildings. Twenty-six handmade structural models at 1:500 scale are the centerpiece of the show. In another space, 3D glasses are provided to help understand animated illustrations of complex structural components that are projected at 1:2 scale on the gallery’s walls. An immersive narrated video installation surrounds guests with views of SOM’s tower projects while giving insights in the practice’s history. More models, research material, and drawings, give an inside look into how the firm works through multiple building typologies with several design techniques. Sky's the Limit is the second time SOM has exhibited the work of its structural engineers. This new show is over four times the size of the last show and includes many never-before-seen videos, photographs, drawings, and models. The former exhibit, The Engineering of Architecture, was first shown at Architekturgalerie Munich, in Munich, Germany. The Utzon Center was the last building designed by famed Danish architect Jørn Utzon. The center was imagined less as a museum and more as a place where architecture students could gather. The project was a collaboration between Utzon and his son Kim, who would eventually finish the drawings for the project after Utzon’s death. Finished in 2008, the center sits on the Limfjord waterfront in Utzon’s childhood home of Aalborg, a northern Danish harbor city. The center currently functions as an exhibition space and studio space for architecture students, as was intended by the architect. Sky's the Limit: The Engineering of Architecture will be on show through January 15th, 2017.
The capital of the happiest country in the world, Denmark*, will soon get a new multi-purpose waterfront development. This week, Scandinavian architecture firm, C. F. Møller Landscape, won the “Nordhavn Islands” international competition to design part of the waterfront in the growing Nordhavn district, a harbor area in Copenhagen. The firm’s project proposes “an innovative learning, activity and water landscape” adjacent to a planned international school (which C. F. Møller is also designing). Three floating classrooms would give students opportunities to learn outside, even fish and kayak. The design blends a range of concepts—the urban park, the educational classroom, and the recreational community center—right on the waterfront. The Møller proposal features three separate “islands” ringed with low-maintenance plantings: “'The Reef,’ a multifunctional platform for aqua learning and events in extension of the quayside; ‘The Lagoon,' a floating arena for activities such as kayak polo and other water sports, and ‘The Sun Bath,’ an actual harbor bath with a sauna and protected areas for swimming training,” notes the firm in a press release. "We are passionate about creating new urban and landscape spaces that focus on integrating building and landscape because we believe that it adds value to the project concerned and to the city as a whole,” said C. F. Møller head, Lasse Palm, in a statement. Nordhavn Islands and the Copenhagen International School—that will be the largest school in the city—are expected to open summer 2017. *The United States is ranked the 13th happiest country by the way, in a recent report that found correlations between the happiness of a country's citizens with gross domestic product per-capita, social support, health, and other factors.
Danish practice 3XN Architects has unveiled its design for a new dwelling complex in the district of Randersvej in Aarhus, Denmark. The so-called "La Tour" will encompass a historic brick water tower, built in 1907. The circular complex will house 300 apartments, rising 312 feet to become the fourth tallest building in the country, though only marginally shorter than the city's cathedral which stands at 315 feet. Despite being based in Copenhagen, 3XN has been working in Aarhus for more than 10 years, having seen two previous projects constructed there already. As for its latest scheme, the city council has so far granted preliminary approval with the public now able to comment on the plans. In a press release, 3XN stated that it anticipates approval for the 31-story complex this summer. "La Tour responds to its specific location and will contribute to the surrounding neighborhood on many levels and in a positive way," said 3XN Founder and Creative Director Kim Herforth Nielsen. La Tour was conceived by 3XN with an aim to produce "low cost high quality housing, suitable for young people and families." In doing so, a rounded form, massing an array of box-like dwellings, expands vertically to form the tower. Such an approach allows the building to gently blend in with its surroundings and not inflict an abrasive linear aesthetic on the skyline. "We paid particular attention to the building scale, so that it is both distinctive and visible in the city, but also embraces the local environment in one fluid motion," continued Nielsen. "La Tour will forge an identity in the urban context. Visible in the distance from many parts of the city, it will become a part of the city skyline, serving as a point of orientation." The structure's form also uses terracing to break the threshold between the "flat volumes" in the vicinity and the "urban high rise typology." The architects used the historic water tower as a contextual placeholder around which the new building wraps in an effort to blend old and new.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen designs a Danish residential complex with green facades inspired by a local ivy-covered school
Last week, Scandinavian firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects announced another win. The firm will design a new residential development, Valdemars Have, in the heart of Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark. "Resting on a sloping terrain in a tranquil location within walking distance of Aarhus’ major cultural attractions, Valdemars Have will become a prime location for those seeking an oasis of calm within the bustling city," says the firm. The development will contain 106 apartments, ranging from 2-bedroom apartments to large penthouses with private roof terraces. According to Schmidt Hammer Lassen, the buildings modernly interpret traditional, red brick townhouses, by playfully arranging the masonry and balconies. The brick, will vary from light red to nearly black, in order to blend with the older context. The planted exterior facade was influenced by the neighboring Brobjerg school, covered in ivy. Schmidt Hammer Lassen said, "The green facade gives the project a unique look and enhances the experience of a building 'planted' within a garden, where the landscape and the green elements give character and identity to the building." The development is broken down into two east-west buildings, six levels each. Along the neighboring street, Valdemarsgade, the development lowers to four levels to meet the surrounding condition. According to the firm, the development's organization ensures optimal daylight from all directions, and the north side promenades, which will replace the existing paths, ensure the public will feel welcomed to explore the garden-like development.
While the world has been discussing how much Drake’s “Hotline Bling” music video borrowed from James Turrell’s installations (Hint: a lot*), ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark announced that the artist is collaborating with Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen on the museum’s new expansion. “The Next Level” expansion project will contain a 12,900-square-foot subterranean gallery and two semi-subterranean art installations, The Sphere and The Dome. Intended to “bring the museum into the elite world of modern art museums,” the extension will cost an estimated $32 million. Schmidt Hammer Lassen originally designed the space in the early 2003 and is working with the museum and the artist to retain the building’s original integrity so the expansion will feel seamless and natural. The firm also worked with Olafur Eliasson on Your Rainbow Panorama, which opened last year. “The Next Level project will develop the museum horizontally in contrast to the existing vertical movement and it is exciting to work with the great lines spanning from the river to the square of the Aarhus Music Hall. Our studio is not just designing a new room for a new artwork, we are co-creating the space and the installation simultaneously with James Turrell,” Morten Schmidt, founding partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen said in a press release. It seems that Turrell is having quite the week. In addition to the AroS expansion, it was also reported that Yvette Lee of the Guggenheim and Whitney Museum will be the new director of the Roden Crater in Arizona (The crater’s completion date has still not been released.) Responding to Drake's video set*, Turrell had a few select words. "While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f*cks with me," wrote Turrell in a statement from his lawyer via Vice, "I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the ‘Hotline Bling' video." If you want to decide for yourself, we recommend watching the music video below and then glancing at a few installations. (If you want to go further down the bizarre rabbit hole, AN has also previously reported rumors from CityLab that “Hotline Bling” is about poor city planning.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxpDa-c-4Mc
In Lego's hometown of Billund, Denmark, 3,000 residents came together to celebrate the topping out of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) Lego House. Devoted to the international company, the buildings modular aesthetic is derived from the signature Lego toy bricks. The 3,000 were invited on a tour of the Lego House construction site that, when finished, will be comprised of 21 enormous Lego bricks built on top of each other. So far, the structure has been a year in the making, and, despite dancing with a potentially cliché typology, BIG has artfully avoided designing a brick built "duck" of a building. The building features what Ingels calls a "keystone"—its topmost mass—in the form of a oversized standard 2x4 Lego brick. This space will act as a social hub and experience center for the local community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTWdjqp-MoQ Rising just over 75 feet high and occupying a 2.9 acres, the predominantly white concrete structure will make use of many colorful terrace spaces, some of which feature green roofs as well as housing a central public square. The main feature of the Lego House will be four "play zones" for paying visitors. These zones, Lego said, "will offer guests unique Lego experiences, inviting them to use their minds as well as their hands." Within these spaces, users can engage and build with the Lego bricks, telling stories and expressing themselves through the block-based medium. In another zone, visitors will view the story of the Lego family, showcasing the development of the company and its products. The Lego House is also one of the company's contributions to the goal of making Billund the "Capital of Children." (More info on that goal can be seen here.) The last brick is due to be laid in mid-2017.
In a commentary against waste-producing lifestyles, Indian artist creates a sculpture made from 70,000 bottle caps
Indian artist Arunkumar HG has created a somewhat tongue-in-cheek calling out of our throwaway, waste-producing lifestyles with a shoreline sculpture made from nearly 70,000 bottle screw caps. The artist amassed the collection from his neighborhood over the course of a year, carefully stacked the caps, and connected them in vertical configurations using steel filaments. An undulating, horseshoe-like form resulted, resembling, from afar, a mosaic that is pleasant to behold courtesy of the various colors. “There is a huge imbalance in between our sustainable ecology and our contemporary living practices,” the artist told Designboom. Titled Droppings and the Dam(n), the sculpture is made from bottle caps sourced from Arunkumar’s town of Gurgaon, India, to “map the consumption pattern of the society at the time” and show the scale of waste produced within a limited time period. The sculpture was built for the most recent edition of "Sculpture by the Sea" in Aarhus, Denmark, a government-funded public arts project originating on Sydney’s world-famous Bondi beach. “I have always loved large community arts events like 'Opera in the Park' and 'Symphony Under the Stars', especially the way total strangers sit next to each other listening to music while enjoying a picnic dinner and a few glasses of wine,” David Handley, founding director of Sculpture by the Sea, wrote in a post on the official website explaining the reason he started the initiative. “To me this sense of community is too rarely displayed or available in the modern world.” The month-long public art exhibition is Denmark’s largest visual arts event and typically attracts half a million visitors.
In an ode to one of the first writers to inspire a dedicated museum, the city of Odense, Denmark, has launched a competition to develop a 63,583-square-foot visitor attraction based on the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen. This new feature, sited mostly underground, will be tacked onto the existing Hans Christian Andersen Museum, which is located in the little yellow corner house in the old city precinct where the writer was born. According to the contract notice, the city-center attraction will inspire empathy, imagination, and play to form the basis for learning about Andersen’s fairytale world, which includes household-name children’s fables such as The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling. In addition to the extra underground real estate, 3,498 square feet of the existing buildings will be adapted as part of a downtown regeneration project. Two years ago, the city of Odense launched a similar competition at the same site for a "House of Fairytales," receiving entries such as The Tower of Labyrinth by architect Rodion Kitaev to a roughly conical tower with a statue of the writer dipped in gold at the top by Adam E. Anderson. The winners of "House of Fairytales"—Transborder Studio, Rodion Kitaev, and London-based Leith Kerr Architects—have been encouraged to compete for the new contract. Five teams will receive $22,000 each during the first stage of the competition, and finalists will receive an additional $30,000 to compete in the final round. Due by August 5, proposals may be submitted in English, Danish, Swedish, or Norwegian.
With Bjarke Ingels’ pyramid-like tower—dubbed the “courtscraper”—rising quickly on Manhattan’s West Side, the globe-trotting architect has unveiled plans for his latest sloping project. And this one has the Dane back in Denmark. In his home country, in the city of Aarhus, Bjarke has created “Aarhus Island,” a mixed-use development along the water. Like so much of his residential work, Bjarke has gone angular at the island. In Aarhus, the architect creates stepped towers that rise to defined peaks. According to DesignBoom, which first reported the plans, these residential buildings include more than 200 units. At the water’s edge, the sharp lines of those structures meet the curved edges of an extensive boardwalk. This structure wraps around the development and includes an amphitheater, cafes and shops, floating swimming pools, and a sandy beach-like area. With all the tanning bodies in the renderings you almost forget that Aarhus Island is in Denmark and not say, a country where the average summertime temperature is above 70 degrees fahrenheit. Can't win them all. Work is slated to begin next year with the first components of Aarhus Island opening in 2017. Get those swim trunks ready!
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has begun assembling the pieces of its life-size LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. The wunderkind, himself, recently joined the LEGO Group’s brass (er, plastic?) for the ceremonial groundbreaking, which was really more of a brick-laying as six LEGO-shaped foundation stones were unveiled at the site. Imprinted on those stones were the words: “imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring, and quality.” According to LEGO, the 129,000-square-foot structure—which, duh is shaped like the little bricks—will offer both “hands-on” and “minds-on” experiences. Those experiences will be had within four separate “play zones.” For the more academic tots, the LEGO House will also present “the story of the family company including the development of the LEGO products, the LEGO brand and the LEGO Group.” Not as exciting, but still important. “[LEGO House] will appear like a cloud of interlocking LEGO bricks that form spaces for exploration and exhibition for its visitors within,” Ingels said in a statement. “On the outside the pile of bricks form the roof of a new covered square as well as a mountain of interconnected terraces and playgrounds."
LEGO Architecture has released a new box set—and from the looks of it, this isn't your grandmother’s architectural plaything. The new LEGO set is not the usual plastic-brick model of Rockefeller Center or the Empire State Building. No, this new set is cutting-edge. It goes where no other LEGO box set has gone before: it's a replica of an icon so iconic that it doesn’t even exist yet. It’s a limited-edition replica of the Bjarke Ingels–designed LEGO Museum in the company’s birthplace of Billund, Denmark. Spotted by John Hill at A Daily Dose of Architecture and selling on eBay for well over $100, the set also features what appears to be a shaggy-haired Bjarke Ingels figurine, which would place him in the company of Yoda, the Lone Ranger, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as icons that have also been shrunk to LEGO-sized proportions. Hill described the set as "LEGO imitating architecture imitating LEGO," a reference to BIG's clear inspiration for the LEGO House. A video-rendering of the project (above) might even double as an assembly guide for the LEGO Architecture Series set. The real LEGO House will be a blocky, 82,000-square-foot exhibition space designed to celebrate the toy’s history. BIG's real-life museum isn't projected to open until 2016, so if you buy the set now, you'll probably beat Bjarke to the finish line.