Posts tagged with "Denmark":

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Take a deep dive into Olafur Eliasson’s first completed building

Fjordenhus in Vejle, Denmark, is the first completed building by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann. Together with Studio Olafur Eliasson, the duo have created a thoughtfully conceived and crafted structure in the bay of a Danish fjord. In their earlier architectural collaborations—like the curtain wall design for the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland—their work has displayed an attention to detail, composition, materials, and craftsmanship that carries over into this unique commission.

Once they convinced their client, Kirk Kapital, to build its headquarters in the water of an underutilized shipping port, they created a cylindrical concrete structure as a reference to the area’s surrounding grain silos.

The building is composed of four intersecting concrete volumes arrayed around an open public space and faced with nearly a million custom-designed bricks. The four-story volumes morph in elevation from ellipses to circles, and out of these are carved porous openings that dramatically frame views of the fjord. Built atop a man-made island with a basement foundation, Fjordenhus looks like a medieval rampart as imagined by Louis Kahn. But up close, its exterior walls are a pattern of endlessly and beautifully textured color.

The designers created 15 different hues of unglazed brick, added a smattering of blue, green, and silver glazed bricks, and then meticulously laid them out in digital drawings to create a patterned composition for the entire building. The brick colors were selected to reflect their immediate surroundings (more blue at the top of the building and gray for the stairwells), and they are meant to embody the changing weather and light conditions of the site. The torqued elliptical forms are intended to create a series of dynamic, flowing spaces that are “constantly calibrating to allow the user to trust themselves,” according to Eliasson, as they enter and pass through the building. The artist cited Erwin Panofsky’s criticism of neoclassicism and how it prescribes the inhabitation of buildings as an example of what not to do in designing architectural space. Eliasson wanted to move away from classical hierarchical planning to a more democratic, participatory architecture that he considers a hallmark of Danish democracy.

The building is entered from the quay by a footbridge that leads into a circular public space with three of the artist’s sculptures and a mirrored ceiling piece that reflects the light of the fjord back into the occupied public space.

A circular elevator that features dramatic top and bottom lighting, along with a surrounding stair that rises on splayed armatures, take users up into workspaces fitted with furnishings, lighting, built-in cabinets, and interior stairs all designed by the firm. The placement of furniture is purposefully haphazard so that users “democratically” negotiate their own paths through the space, giving them co-authorship of the building. 

In addition, Eliasson designed table and floor lamps made of deep green glass and metal, as well as built-in lighting that is equal parts functional lighting and sculptural object. Lower floors have elegant, circular concrete pads with coffered lighting overhead. The top floor has a globular, faceted sculpture placed below a skylight that throws sunlight over the space. In addition, the rooms have a series of Eliasson-designed fixtures elegantly cobbled together from a hanging LED light fixture that casts light upward through a glass lens, creating a pattern of concentric circles on the ceiling.

This unique practice is based on an artistic sensibility devoted to materiality, craft, and an understanding of form, developed through Eliasson’s years of experimentation as a trained sculptor. As a result, it is a challenge to more traditional architecture practices. Furthermore, the designer’s insistence on the necessity of creating a democratic, user-controlled space means Fjordenhus comes as close to a contemporary Gesamtkunstwerk (or total work of art) as we have yet experienced in the 21st century.

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A playfully punctured aluminum skin enlivens this Danish school

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On the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark, CEBRA–a multidisciplinary practice based in Denmark and Abu Dhabi–recently designed a 100,000 square-foot primary school embedded in a forested landscape and influenced by the local architectural vernacular. For the firm, the Skovbakke School is an expression of democratic architecture that engages and opens with the surrounding landscape and creates a multitude of experiences for the diverse student body.
  • Facade Manufacturer Alucoil, Moelven
  • Architects CEBRA
  • Facade Installer MT Højgaard Design & Engineering
  • Facade Consultants MT Højgaard Design & Engineering
  • Location Odder, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Prefabricated aluminum cladding and wood paneling
  • Products Moelven ThermalWood, Icopal pitched roofing, Alcucoil Composite Aluminum Panels, Troldekt acoustical ceilings
According to CEBRA, the school ties itself to the town aesthetically through a diverse range of pitched roofs; the staggered gables break up the building's mass and extend to shield balconies from the elements with overhanging eaves. Balcony spaces, entrances, and portions of the interior are paneled with Moelven Thermowood. The school's structure is composed of pre-cast concrete walls and slabs. The exterior is largely clad with Alucoil’s prefabricated aluminum composite panels treated with grey, brown, and beige colors. The cladding is mounted on perforated aluminum profiles and fitted to the frames of windows and doors. Segments of color meet at sharp angles, mirroring the panoply of gables above. CEBRA opted for the facade's earthy tones "to reflect how the colors of the sky transform into the colors of the trees, mediating between the two primary elements surrounding the school." The Skovbakke School features physical activity areas in each classroom, fire access routes that double as tracks for exercise, and immediate access to the adjacent public park. Although the roofline possesses a number of peaks and valleys, the plan consists of “four offset fingers.” Circulation across the expansive layout is facilitated by a series of common spaces, notably a natural light-flooded central atrium. The core space is supported by a series of slender grey columns, allowing for a broad range of uses and internal configurations between. Offset stairwells and a wooden amphitheater ring the atrium, providing routes for circulation and a large area for gathering. Playfully arranged windows are scattered across the school’s facade and are paired with the function of individual classrooms and common areas. The seemingly random placement of windows, possible through the use of lightweight facade cladding, also provides lively animation to the complex’s courtyards, allowing multiple view lines between the exterior and interior spaces. Additionally, steel lattice girders allowed the design team to insert skylights across the complex's roofline, naturally illuminating interior classrooms and common areas. CEBRA views “the combination of high-and-low ceilinged, light and dim, small and large spaces,” as a vehicle for “the children to turn to different social situations–large assemblies, smaller groups or alone–depending on their needs and moods.”
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Bjarke Ingels Group designs a new home for Noma

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has designed a new home for one of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in the world: noma. The Danish eatery moved into their new digs earlier this year, leaving their old home in the Strandgade neighborhood of Copenhagen, Denmark, to the city's Christiania area. Christiania is Copenhagen's "hippie town," a former military base that was colonized by squatters in the 1970s, became a sort of lawless city-in-a-city where drugs were available at street stalls, and is now a mix of informal settlements and super-lux restaurants. The new noma is in a refurbished warehouse that was once used by the Royal Danish Navy and has been re-styled with a Scandi-chic interior for sampling avant-garde takes on Nordic cuisine. The restaurant is split across a variety of little buildings, each assigned a specific purpose (arrival, wine selection, etc.) and all arranged around the kitchen. The arrangement is meant to turn a visit to the restaurant into a culinary experience, one where you can visit the garden that grew the herbs on your plate and you can poke around the science experiments that might show up on the menu next year. The restaurant's garden, test kitchen, and bakery are all on-site along with fermentation labs, fish tanks, terrarium, and an ant farm. Outback Steakhouse this is not. Lest it all become too highfalutin, the interiors are lined with humble, local materials like exposed wood and salvaged brick. A greenhouse is light and unassuming, bordering even on utilitarian, and the overall aesthetic hews more closely to the streamlined humanism of Alvar Aalto than the flash and "hedonism" that other BIG projects are known for. The new location opened in Feburary, 2018, and is now available for reservations.
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Olafur Eliasson’s architecture studio completes stunning first building

The Architect’s Newspaper recently did a studio visit with Studio Other Spaces, the architect’s office established by sculptor Olafur Eliasson and his architect-collaborator Sebastian Behmann in 2014. Behmann has collaborated with Eliasson and his research team since 2001 on numerous high-profile projects, and they have just completed Fjordenhus (Fjord House), their first entirely in-office building. The architecture studio, like many offices today, claims to “pursues a research-based approach to the production of space that seeks to expand the estab­lished architectural vocabulary.” But unlike many new firms, this studio has already produced a strong body of  built work (though these were done alongside established architecture firms). Fjorden­hus is a 92-foot-tall office building which sits literally in the water of a disused dock in a fjord in Vejle, Jutland (Denmark) for their client Kirk Kapital. This building project builds on Olafur Eliasson’s history as an artist and claims to be a “total work of art” (Gesamtkunstwerk) and comes as close as any recent building project to achieving that claim. They have designed nearly every aspect of the building, including the windows, doors, carpets, glass, furniture, lighting and of course, the art works. Constructed, for example primarily of unglazed brick it was chosen because it is “the smallest possible building unit” and allows for the organic shape of the building. They also argue that Fjordenhus' intricate brickwork seen from afar “seems orderly” but upon closer inspection, “the different shapes and slightly ir­regular staggering of the bricks’ depth reveals a lively, organic surface.” Moreover, additional colors of glazed bricks are “integrated into its carved-out sections to produce color fades–green from the bottom and blue from the top–that reflect the water and sky.” Given the firm's intense interest in materials from their previous art projects, “every corner, niche, and arc required an individual brick-laying solution; each brick was specially fit into the complex cur­vature of the concrete walls, the overall brickwork lying flush with the curved steel frames and glass elements of the facade.” Further, Fjorden­hus art works don’t so much sit in the space but are designed into the building itself, and include light “installations” like Fjordhvirvel, which encircles Fjordenhus, Undervandsforventning and Den indre “that visually link the lower and upper spaces and create a formal dialogue between the curvature of the building, the daily cycles of the fjord, and the arc of the sun’s path across the sky.” The building is a double shell of local Danish brick that forms “four intersecting cylinders” from which volumes have been carved out to create complex curved, circular, and elliptical forms, torqueing walls and parabolic arches, windows and openings. As the building sits in the water, it is accessible by a footbridge into a double-height ground floor, which is open to the public and is “permeated by the fjord and contains two aqueous zones.” The upper three floors are offices for Kirk Kapital and varying floor plans are on different levels and are organized around circles and ellipses, with specially designed furniture and lights, and are connected by spi­ral staircases and round vestibules. The Gesamtkunstwerk notion might be considered a dated one for architects, but with this firm, coming as it does from the world of art, it has a different idea about how to think about buildings, conceive of space and design walls and facades. There are currently other art practices like Thomas Heatherwick's moving into architectural design, but none have created as convincing a work of architecture as Fjordenhus.
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A visit with Olafur Eliasson’s art and architecture workshop, Studio Other Spaces

The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s multi-story studio is located in an old 19th-century brewery in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district. The combination artist’s studio, materials research laboratory, and fabrication workshop is outfitted with elegant Hans Wegner furniture, displays of Eliasson projects, artwork prototypes, and a glass-walled kitchen for employees’ daily lunches. Inside this calm, but busy, workshop there is now an architecture office. Directed by Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann, Studio Other Spaces is a natural outgrowth of the large-scale public sculptures and installations that Studio Olafur Eliasson has been creating since the mid-1990s. Eliasson has long had an interest in architecture, running an art school called the Institute for Spatial Experiments and working for many years with Einar Thorsteinn, an architect and geometry expert who was a follower of Buckminster Fuller. Studio Olafur Eliasson was also part of the James Corner–Diller and Scofidio + Renfro design team for New York’s High Line park. For several years the art studio has had major clients commissioning projects that were really exterior curtain walls, like the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall, designed with Copenhagen-based firm Henning Larsen (and winner of the 2013 Mies van der Rohe Award), which has a facade of quartz-like hexagonal sections. Eliasson writes that he believes the “culture sector in our society is more likely to create change than the public sector, the politicians, or the private sector.” This new architecture office is perhaps a vehicle to combine his dramatic public art with a pragmatic social program. This desire by designers and artists to also be architects has a long lineage going back to the Renaissance through the Vienna Secession, and today we see it with artists like James Wines of SITE or industrial designers like Pentagram and Thomas Heatherwick. Given all the requirements of building, it is still not common for an architect to be grounded in art, but with the capabilities of today’s digital practice and the range of large-scale public art, we may start to see more of these professional distinctions erode. Studio Other Spaces’ recent projects and its facility with spatial design shown here is not just branding, but sophisticated architecture. Head of design in Studio Olafur Eliasson, Behmann is an educated and licensed architect and has been consulting on the studio’s architectural projects since 2001, though the studio only recently began to design major monuments all over the world. The architecture office currently has eight architects on staff, all with different backgrounds. Eliasson said he admires architects because “they build buildings for people who are not interested in buildings—they just work in them, or they just sleep in them, or they just eat in them.” This a very good start for practicing architecture. Ilulissat Icefjord Park Competition The park design uses melting ice to shape space based on a unique design strategy where ice is at once the formwork of a concrete structure and the focal point of the resulting space. Icebergs were harvested directly from the nearby ice fjord to create an exhibition building, called the Ice Void, which harbors the memory of the ice that was used to shape it in its walls. Linked to the Ice Void outdoors by a 360-degree path, the Sun Cone building defines the park. The light glass structure of the Sun Cone positions the visitor center directly in the landscape and offers guests a spectacular panoramic view of the surroundings and the Arctic sun. The park helps make the overwhelming experience of visiting the ice fjord comprehensible—providing visitors with a scale for contemplating and relating to the awe-inspiring ice fjord. Fjordenhus Vejle, Denmark The new headquarters of Kirk Kapital rises directly from the harbor of the city of Vejle, Denmark. Accessible by footbridge, the 75-foot-tall building is formed by four intersecting cylinders with brick facades that have rounded negative spaces, creating complex curved forms and arched windows. The brickwork incorporates fifteen different tones of unglazed brick, making a visually rich surface; blue and green glazed bricks are integrated into the carved-out sections to produce color fades that enhance the sense of depth. The ground floor is open to the public and includes two water spaces that are visible from viewing platforms. Facades of Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre Reykjavik, Iceland Olafur Eliasson and his studio designed the show-stopping facade of the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre in collaboration with Henning Larsen Architects. Reminiscent of the crystalline basalt columns commonly found in Iceland, the facade was built from a modular, space-filling structure called the quasi-brick. The quasi-brick is a twelve-sided polyhedron consisting of rhomboidal and hexagonal faces. When stacked, the bricks leave no gaps between them, so they can be used to build walls and structural elements. The combination of regularity and irregularity in the modules lends the facade a chaotic, unpredictable quality that could not be achieved through stacking cubes. The modules incorporate panes of color-effect filter glass, which appear to be different colors according to how the light hits them; the building shimmers, reacting to the weather, time of day or year, and the position and movements of viewers. Your rainbow panorama Aarhus, Denmark In 2007 Studio Olafur Eliasson won a competition to transform the rooftop of Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark. It offers visitors sweeping views of the city, the sky, and the distant horizon. The elevated 360-degree walkway is 492 feet in diameter and glazed with rainbow-colored glass. Visible from afar, the work divides Aarhus into various color zones and acts as a beacon for people moving about the city—an effect that is heightened at night when lights running the circumference of the walkway illuminate it from within.
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Denmark’s latest maximum security prison designed to feel less like a prison

Denmark’s recently opened maximum-security Storstrøm Prison, the second-largest in the country, is meant to evoke feelings of a small provincial village, according to Scandinavian designers C.F. Møller Architects. Housing 250 inmates, the prison is meant to be rehabilitative while allowing prisoners to avoid the loss of social skills that comes with institutionalization. C.F. Møller has described it the “world’s most humane” prison. Located on Denmark’s Falster island, Storstrøm Prison is organized around central community buildings and laid out more like a campus than a traditional prison. The four prisoner wings and maximum-security hall are sited in such a way as to mimic the urban fabric of the surrounding villages and form streets and squares, softening the transition between open society to a prison. All ten buildings, totaling 115,000-square feet altogether, are kept to a town-like scale as well and are generally the same height. The designers chose to model Storstrøm Prison after a miniature society that would provide inmates with social and practical skills, in keeping with the Scandinavian tradition of encouraging reform among inmates rather than enacting harsh punishment. C.F. Møller chose to work different materials into each of the buildings on the site based on their programming. The five wings have been given a patterned brick façade, the activity building is a mix of concrete panels and glass, and the workshop building is clad in steel panels and concrete. The concrete is also embossed with a circular pattern throughout the campus in an attempt to keep the walls from feeling too institutional. The attention to making the inmates and administrative staff feel comfortable extends to the interiors as well. Because natural lighting was emphasized throughout the project, all of the communal rooms and cells have large windows that are tilted to let viewers to take in the landscape up to the surrounding perimeter wall, without allowing anyone to see inside. A neutral color palette was chosen for the interior, to produce an effect that is calming without being too sterile. A double-height church and several non-denominational worship rooms are also available for both the prisoners and guards to use. Communality is also emphasized, as cells are grouped in units of four to seven grouped around a shared hub, with access to a living room and kitchen where inmates can make their own meals. The cells themselves are curved instead of being harshly angled, so that inmates can see the entire room from the door, while multiple windows fill their rooms with natural light. Still, despite the amenities, the island is first and foremost a prison. A 20-foot wall surrounds the correctional facility, the entire island is covered in cameras, and steel wires are stretched across the top of each building to prevent helicopters from landing on them. Storstrøm Prison is the result of a $160 million commission from the Danish Prison Service, as an attempt to create an environment that would help inmates more readily transition back to society after being released.
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Bjarke Ingels’s LEGO House is finally open to the public

The last brick has been placed on the long-awaited LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. Yesterday, the Danish royal family was on hand to open the building to visitors. Before the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)–designed structure, the city was only famous for architectural splendor of a different (smaller) scale. Now, however, Billund finally has something BIG to shout about.

Flying into the city, it’s hard to miss the almost three-acre LEGO House. The building’s vibrant terraced squares of red, yellow, green, and blue are easy to spot beneath the clouds despite the equally colorful LEGOLAND and Lalandia water park nearby. This aerial view, which will be the first for many who visit the LEGO House and a rare instance where aerial photography and renderings are relevant—hints at the modular structure's 21 rectangular volumes, waiting to be discovered on the ground.

Though colorful from the sky, the LEGO House is predominantly white at the street level. Ninety-thousand white clip-on ceramic tiles wrap around the building, each abiding by the proportions of a two-by-four LEGO brick. This reference to the toy-maker's most iconic brick can be found more explicitly in what Ingels calls the LEGO House’s “keystone.”

Sitting at the top of the building, the keystone features eight oversized circular studs and tops out the LEGO House which rises to just over 75 feet high. Rather surprisingly, this makes the building Billund’s tallest, though this isn’t exactly a tough achievement in the low-rise city.

Billund is very much a company town—something its residents aren’t afraid to admit. Around 3,000 LEGO employees work here, though not all live in the city, which had a population of 6,194 as of 2014. The city center is generally ignored by tourists who visit Lalandia and LEGOLAND, as those going to the latter stay at the LEGOLAND Holiday Village. This is not because the center is far away: You can drive around Billund in five minutes, or walk. The center just has very little to offer, with few restaurants and shops.

Billund Mayor Ib Kristensen is hoping the LEGO House will change that. “I don’t have any concerns,” he told The Architect’s Newspaper (AN). “The LEGO House will bring at lot of guests into the center of Billund and it will help other shops, restaurants,” he said, adding that he estimates the building will bring 250,000 visitors to the city every year.

With the municipality so reliant on LEGO, news of the company cutting eight percent of its workforce was not welcome at the start of the month. The cuts will eliminate 1,400 jobs worldwide, and Kristensen said this would mean 600 lost jobs in Billund. Despite this, Kristensen noted that LEGO House has created 180 new jobs and that the city’s “Triangle Region” has the lowest unemployment in Denmark, though this is partly because many travel into Billund for work.

Locals share the mayor’s optimism in spite of the grim jobs news. Tina Hald Kristensen, (no relation) who has worked in a sleepy cafe opposite the LEGO House for two years, is eager to see an influx in potential customers and revenue to the area. “I think it’s a much-needed positive addition to the city,” she said.

Despite its lofty ambitions and height accolades, the LEGO House is not imposing. BIG struck a sensitive balance with Billund’s topography and sprawling surroundings, while making the statement LEGO want to make.

Steadily rising cubic volumes create two corners that form an orthogonal cascading landscape that provides steps and seating. These rubber-surfaced areas will be open to the public 24/7, while the rest of the roofscape, which includes an assortment of play areas, will only be accessible during official open hours.

Considering the building is an almost all-white structure, with walls and terraces open to the public at all hours, the potential for it being a target of graffiti springs to mind. However, Hald Kristensen stressed that this was unlikely to occur. “Billund isn’t that sort of town,” she said. A wander around the area confirms that there’s no graffiti at all. Potential vandalism aside, it remains to be seen how the white tiles and other white surfaces will be maintained in their pristine condition.

It is in the white tile facade, however, where BIG’s details stand out. On the inside, the tiling continues, gradually pixelating into various shades as you enter different areas, most dramatically into black as you enter the basement.

Here, on the lower level, adults who are still interested in LEGO or played with the toy as children will find a nostalgic treasure trove. This area resembles a museum of the company, going back to its first product. Well-known LEGO and System products line the walls and old moulds used to make two-by-four bricks can be seen. Furthermore, an interactive database of almost all LEGO sets lets visitors scroll through and find their favorite.

Anna Manins, a local resident who is a mother of three, is more pleased that her children will have a place to keep them entertained in the winter when LEGOLAND and Lalandia close down. The LEGO House is ultimately a venue for children. Three hours away in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Ingels' Superkilen park is evidence that his work for children can stand the test of time. Completed in 2012, the park is still well-used five years on. 

Like Superkilen, the LEGO House uses color as a circulatory means. As denoted by the colored rubber on the terraces, four zones feed off an interior concourse where a shop, restaurant where LEGO robots serve food, and a staircase spirals round a LEGO tree that has carvings of the first LEGO products that were made from wood can be found. 

According to the firm, the Red Zone is for “spontaneous creativity and free-building”; the Green Zone is for "social activities" and “roleplay with your own characters and stories”; the Blue Zone is for “putting your cognitive skills to the test”; and the Yellow Zone is intended to “play with emotions.”

In these areas, children can see their creations come to life on CGI-animated screens and are encouraged to build with each other, contribute to other buildings which are added to throughout the day, race their own LEGO cars, and make stop-motion LEGO movies.

An interesting and unexpected activity is the role of the urban designer. In the Yellow Zone, modular blocks, limited in size to a square base, can be placed around a city-like grid. Custom-made creations can be built around pre-built fixed buildings such as a soccer stadium and concert venue. Similar to playing Sim City, the interactive grid responds to what is placed, demanding at times a particular typology—which you build—be placed in a certain area.

There is room for adulting here too. The accomplished work of certified LEGO builders of all scales —there are only 40 LEGO “master builders” in the world—are dotted around the building. Some are carefully curated moving scenes that tell a story. If you can find it, a depiction of LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen can be found having his picture taken with his leg in a cast (he broke it when the LEGO House's foundations were being laid).

BIG's plans for Billund don't stop at LEGO. Apartments for families, the elderly, and rental apartments designed by the Danish firm are set to be built in the city. LEGO is also planning a new headquarters in the city, courtesy of C.F. Møller, another Danish studio. For the time being, though, small bricks are the only thing anyone is talking about in Billund.

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Team led by Vargo Nielsen Palle beats BIG, SANAA to design new Aarhus School of Architecture

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.”

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 Archdaily_Collab_1
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SOM exhibits its extensive structural engineering work at new Danish exhibition

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.
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A project in Copenhagen will create three floating classrooms

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.
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3XN Designs Curving La Tour Residential Tower in Aarhus

Danish practice 3XN Architects has unveiled its design for a new dwelling complex in the district of Randersvej in AarhusDenmark. 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.
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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.