1104 aarhus school of architecture

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The concept for the Aarhus School of Architecture stems from a place where architectural thinking and experimentation start from a highly inspiring space. The school is conceived as a social condenser where students, city officials, professors, and international visitors can use the same space to share knowledge and information to advance the architectural discipline. Taking inspiration from the site’s richness, we have conceived a building with a section inspired by the typical pitched roof in the area. However, their aggregation evolved according to the sun’s angles during different seasons, maximizing the quantity of light and heat on the roof surface. The resulting composition is a succession of faceted roofs in Cor-ten steel and glass. The large glass panels create openings on the upper floor to allow natural light in the studios and learning spaces. The massing of the building has been elevated from the ground floor to maximize urban porosity at the ground floor, communicating with the surrounding areas and the exterior functions. The building does not impose itself on the site, but it appears lifted up, opening itself like a democratic condenser of different functions where everybody is invited to experience.

It is a space of site-specificity, community-oriented, characterized by its openness and transparency. The functions have been conceptualized as a collection of primary shapes distributed in a physical volume that provides the frame for their organization. The city’s urban fabric enters into the ground floor, which contains the most public activities, while the studios and the laboratories are placed on the upper floor. The floor slab is organized on slightly different levels, like small depressions on the ground plane, providing the proper separation from one activity to the other without the confined physical boundary of a wall. Walls are dissolved into frosted low semi-transparent partitions for privacy or reconfigured into volumes within the spaces. The double-height voids showcase 1:1 architectural models of building components and are placed to be visible from the many informal learning areas disseminated in the circulation. The main shapes within the floor plan have functions assigned according to a timeline where many other activities can happen throughout the day, maximizing the spaces’ use. Interior floors and the roof are framed in exposed steel and concrete planks, with integrated air and services distribution in the core voids. The resulting architectural aesthetic is characterized by the raw presence of concrete revealed by the interplay of natural light flooding the spaces from the skylights. The project focuses on sustainable values, employing all local resources such as photovoltaic panels integrated on the roof, natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, and radiant heating from thermal and ground source heat pumps. The school is a hybrid vision of the future that combines bridge tectonic, loft spaces, theoretical learning with practice, and human requirements with scientific principles.

Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Area: 131750 sqf / 12240 sqm
Client: Aarhus School of Architecture
Status: Highlighted Competition Entry, 2016
Team: Alessandro Orsini, Nick Roseboro, Jianwei Li, Andrea Debilio
Environmental: Transsolar KlimaEngineering
Structures: Format Enginners