AAS - Aarhus architecture school
"A glass volume totally open to the sky links all the functions and creates a space where everyone can meet each other"
The Aarhus School of Architecture was established in 1965, it was supposed to be temporarily housed in the old merchant’s house at Nørreport 20, 8000 Aarhus C, until more appropriate premises could be found, or a completely new school built. 50 years have now passed and the main address is still Nørreport 20. Today the school is spread across ten different addresses. Its physical framework is outdated and no longer meets today’s requirements, either in respect to teaching or to research.
The Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, the Aarhus School of Architecture and Aarhus Municipality have consequently agreed to plan a new School of Architecture at Godsbanearealerne (an area previously used to accommodate railway freight) at the heart of Aarhus.
In this area, a large cultural center, Godsbanen, was established in 2012 in newly renovated former railway freight buildings. Godsbanen is seen as a cultural powerhouse built with the aim of improving conditions for art and cultural production in Aarhus. The school of architecture will be located close to Godsbanen at the center of the city’s ‘cultural axis’.
According to the design brief, the new school of architecture should take in account 3 important needs: the student’s life, the employees’ privacy and to be open to the city.
The concept for this project is simple; it is the result of the competition brief and the site morphology. The school is divided into 3 volumes, each of them carrying a specific function according to the program. Students need flexible space to work with high ceiling volume flood by a constant light. Therefore, all student classes and workshops were put in a long compact brick volume facing north west and the park nearby. All the administrative functions, the library and the canteen were put in a corten steel volume facing south and the central part of the site. The volume is in the same alignment than the main pathway of the site and shows the school main entrance.
To connect the student and the administrative buildings, a glass volume totally open to the sky links both function and creates in the same time a space where students, professionals, teacher, administrative employees and all visitors will meet each other. This central space will be multifunctional and many exhibitions or events will be held inside. The glass volume is like an internal street inside the school, it continues the historic main axis of the site and can be used by the people all day long. In this space there is large stair creating an open stage for different use and will allow people to access a terrace to enjoy a view on this cultural heritage site.