The project consists in developing a new public library that functions as a visionary media space and ensures the city of Aarhus a strong foothold in a knowledge-based, globalized society. At the same time the new media space must be designed as a vital element for the new waterfront of Aarhus and as a link between the harbour and city front.
The design of the building expresses the movement patterns of the site beautifully. The crystalline roof that peaks at the entry towards the city is a captivating sight from all angles and from Dynkarken there is an outstanding view to the large, dynamic media wall. In addition the large glass facades of the building create an eventful interplay between the indoor and outdoor areas.
At the same time the interplay between the entry hall and the internal green gardens, bridges, floors and view to the city creates an inspiring framework for the interplay between traffic, culture, knowledge and new media.
In that way the proposal by AART Architects and Arkitema shows a clear understanding of modern library operations and expresses a clear architectural vision – especially regarding solutions concerning energy efficiency and indoor climate. These solutions are impressive since a wide range of sustainable solutions are integrated in the project – for example the use of seawater to cool the building, natural ventilation, climate zones as well as thermo active floors.
To ensure the greatest possible openness and flexibility the design of the building is rooted in a very simple and robust design principle – a design principle expressed in a basic structure in the shape of a circular and concentric layout that takes its departure in the conceptual character of the building as a “hinge” between the harbour and the city.
The openness of the plan towards both the city and the harbour is mirrored in the characteristically sculpted main shape that opens invitingly towards all directions. It has been a vital goal for the project team to create a building that will both communicate with its surroundings and bring the individual in focus since Mediaspace is a place for personal exploration.
In one dramatic sweep the outer crystalline facets of the building embrace the media landscape of the interior. This open and dynamic movement shapes the building as one big spatial unit under a big roof that peaks in the access area towards the town and the big opening towards the harbour and the northern bastion.
The building is like a sculpture seen from all sides. A building that sits comfortably by itself and that is shaped to fit with both the grand scale of the harbour and the smaller and more detailed facades along the Aarhus creek.
Likewise the interior scale fits both the human scale and the sweeping views. This is not a loud high rise, there is no back side with dull office facades, no ground floor void of activity with only parking and closed off functions. There is just one big open and extrovert gesture towards the water and the city. In other words it is a building that will invite you inside to experience.
Introduction of the company/architect:
AART Architects was founded in Aarhus ( Denmark ) in 2000 with the vision to develop and challenge the Scandinavian architectural tradition and the studio has since won several first prizes in Danish and international architecture competitions.
The studio employs 40 architects and is recognised for focusing on the substance rather than the surface of the architecture and for working with evidence-based design to create high-performance environments and ensure a holistic approach to sustainability.
In addition AART Architects believe that tradition and innovation are compatible and recognize and respond to the unique context of each project in the desire to make long lasting architectural concepts and flexible solutions.
Completion date: Not realized
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Architect: AART Architects and Arkitema
Competition date: 2009
Competition name: Mediaspace
Competition Scale (international/national): National
Area/Size: 29.000m2 (plus a parking level of 28.000m2)
Client: Aarhus Council and Realdania
Place in a competition: 2nd place