Based on the vision “Engaging through Architecture”, Aarhus School of Architecture educates graduates with a focus on creating solutions that affect the lives of many, are beneficial to society, and, preferably, have a global perspective.
All of this can be seen at the school´s new exhibition called RÅT. The school’s rector, Torben Nielsen, explains his vision to DANISH™:
Terms such as “New Danish Modern” and “Danish Design” have a certain value as brands. Despite this, the school’s rector refuses to rest on his laurels when it comes to continuously defining a strong DNA for the new graduates educated from the school:
‘I strongly believe that part of the long-lasting success of Danish design and architecture is due to our democratic approach to almost every aspect of life. Part of being in a democracy is to create, state, and work for your opinions. This, in combination with architectural knowledge and an artistic approach, is something we urge our students to work with from day one’, Torben Nielsen explains and predicts what the guests can expect to see when they visit RÅT:
‘First of all, RÅT is the lifeblood of the first graduates of 2018. These being their final projects, they are everything from spectacular, distant, dreamy and edgy, but, most of all – very relevant.´
According to Torben Nielsen, a lot of the projects spring from today’s global agenda, such as the treatment of refugees, sustainability, crime, urbanisation and the schism between the increasing awareness of one´s personal brand and the need, maybe even desire, for solitude and reflection.
‘Hopefully, our guests will look at the projects that courageously take on some of the bigger issues in society. Here they will see the combination of architectural methods and an artistic approach, where you keep your solutions open for a much longer time, showcased all in one.’
Engaging in society creates better architecture
DANISH™ visits Torben Nielsen in a meeting room behind his office, an office he shares with his prorector and two other employees. The building is well preserved and has a nice homely feel, perhaps due to the wooden floors and rooms that are smaller than most modern offices. This is, however, only a brief respite: within the next few years, the school will transform into NEW AARCH at a new location in the city. It will be the first ever Danish school of architecture designed by architects for architects.
Today, the school is spread out over more than nine different locations in the Danish city of Aarhus. However, bringing together all students in one building is not the only thing Torben Nielsen is looking forward to:
‘We preach “Engaging through Architecture”, and that architecture is a way of thinking. We state that it is a set of tools we can use to create smart solutions that create value to the ones who are living in the architecture. Thus we have to walk the talk and really engage with the people around us – and understand the lives we are talking about. NEW AARCH will allow us to do this. All we have to do is focus on interacting with society.´
The operating architect
One element the school is already making their students interact with is new technologies and new digital possibilities – something you will see when you visit the exhibition:
‘Two things are elementary at our school: First, we challenge the road lying straight ahead of us. Second, developing the existing further is a focal point for us. This is no different when it comes to new technologies. Which is why we train our students in robotics, machines, coding and programming. It gives them the ability to not only work with these things and replicate their original intention – but to create new programming, as well as new effects – and thereby new possibilities´, Torben Nielsen says. He also explains how students’ familiarity with technology and materials has increased significantly in the past years.
‘RÅT will showcase the essence of the school’s graduates: their ability to understand complex issues, handle different stakeholders with different competencies while developing smart, relevant solutions based on strong professional competencies in shaping and designing on a large scale’, he concludes.
RÅT opens on 2 February and runs until 25 February at Godsbanen, Aarhus, Denmark.