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THE CONTEXT

As a former industrial site, the project area carries very strong contextual genes, which influence any future development. The cultural and historical heritage are key elements of the former Godsbanen area that play a principal role in creating a new sustainable urban environment. We believe maintaining the site’s identity as a space of technological progress and production is important in creating a resilient environment.

Two major defining elements structure the site – the existing buildings and the train tracks. The buildings impose the main direction, contained also in the masterplan. The tracks, however, do not follow this superimposed layer, but rather the topography. By introducing a second direction, given by the tracks south of the site, we will be able to uncover and reify the primordial structure of the territory – the flow of the river, as well as the new landscape intervention – the green wedge.

 

THE SITE

The main axis separates the site E-W into two major uses – cultural and residential. The cultural facilities will be on the eastern side of this axis, connected to the green wedge. This enables links to the train station and the city centre, while providing a noise buffer for the residential area. Developing the new school in relation to the Godsbanen cultural centre also strengthens the local identity as a new hub for artistic/ cultural production within the city.

The residential area occupies the western part of the axis, towards the Carl Blochs Grade, connecting to the city beyond. The direction crossing the site E-W becomes important as it reintroduces the site to the urban context by creating a unified public surface on top of which public and private uses converge.

The secondary diagonal axis we introduced in the southern area of the site highlights the emerging grid and creates a direct connection between the Godsbanen cultural centre, the new AAA and the Aarhus K events area.

 

THE URBAN CONDITION

In order to create urban intensity, the private and the public need to coexist on the same surface. For the western residential area we imagined a new typology based on this principle of integration, while trying to introduce more of an urban atmosphere to this former industrial site through the use of a traditional Aarhus urban block typology.

Segregating shops, parking and residential buildings would produce a suburban result. We therefore decided to absorb the requested parking building into this new typology and added extra public functions on the ground floor, introducing complexity into the traditional urban block. We divided the requested 9000 m2 parking area in two floors within two proposed building blocks, partially enclosing it with double height spaces for shops, artist studios, bars, and offices. We then used the traditional urban block typology with an enclosed green courtyard, which we placed on top of the public functions. The block is penetrated at all levels by large openings that permit both visual and physical connections to the city.

 

 

THE SCHOOL

We believe that the architecture school should be a place for debate and production – a principle derived from the legacy of both the Antiquity and the Industrial Revolution.  We propose a new building for the core activities of the faculty. The new building represents an embodiment of this dual legacy of classicism and industrialism. It is organized based on a tripartite principle with a sequence of adjoining spaces graduating from public to private, from open to closed, both horizontally and vertically.

The school should work as a democratic space where innovation is based on profound knowledge and acknowledgement of the environment. Following this idea, we decided to maintain the three existing buildings on site and integrate them into the new school compound. The northern building is transformed by the addition of an open air amphitheatre that both separates and hinges the two public spaces of the Godsbanen and the new AAA.

 

THE AGORA

The new building defines the SE side of the site by means of a portico, providing a limit that is both strong in its presence and permeable in its use. In placing the new building at the eastern edge of the site, an enclosure is created between the existing buildings, the new building and the Godsbanen cultural centre. This newly formed public space is an integral part of the school as well as a new space for interaction for the community. The agora works as an open-air workshop, communal space, exhibition area, binding the different faculty buildings into one whole, while displaying the school’s activity to the public.

The pre-existing buildings accommodating more public functions will enable the interaction between the school and the local community. This modular organization of the program allows for more flexible use of the area and can generate after-hours activity within the neighbourhood, maintaining an engaging and vibrant atmosphere.

 

THE BUILDING

The inner workings of the building reconfigure the entire site, while the adaptive framework allows the site to configure the building. This clear, modulated structure allows the life within to express itself with maximum freedom. Within this framework, we give the best conditions for experiment and research.

The portico facing the agora doubles as an open-air studio space. The MA studio space runs along the length of the portico, one large triple height space. It connects directly to an enclosed brick volume containing lecture rooms, modelling + fabrication units and VR space. This solid volume creates the limit towards the tracks. The BA studio space lies on top of this volume and is visually connected to the MA to form one space. The BA studio has an open view towards the old city. The wooden volume on top of the portico houses the staff area and the library, which is overlooking the BA studio space and the cityscape beyond.

 

Authors
Dragoș Mihai Dordea
Irina Maria Ionescu

Collaborators
Stud. arch. Raluca Dobre
Stud. arch. Teodora Iojiban
Stud. arch. Claudia Pipoș

Facts + Figures
adress: Aarhus, DK
built area: 40000 sqm of which New Architecture School 10000 sqm
status: competition – HIGHLIGHTED ENTRY
year: 2015
http://newaarch.dk/