New buildings aren’t always the answer to urban renewal. In Aarhus, Denmark, they try to breathe new life into old buildings by giving them a new purpose. AART architects are leading the team behind an ambitious project to transform the old Aarhus Municipal Hospital into a new campus site named The University Town.
In Aarhus, Denmark, the future builds on the past. The old Municipal Hospital is getting a serious face-lift and will end up as a new campus for Aarhus University when done. AART architects are leading the team who have won the tender for the work. To Torben Skovbjerg Larsen, founding partner and CEO at AART architects, it’s important to remember that this makeover has its starting point in the existing buildings.
‘The original buildings’ fundamental principles will play a central role in shaping the new campus. The majority of the buildings are designed in clear, geometrical shapes and this geometry is being underlined by the simple and thorough façades,’ Larsen explains. ‘Red tiles and bricks characterise façades, roofs and surfaces and create a unique correlation between the many buildings on this site as well as a clear kinship with the existing yellow-brick university on the opposite side of the street.’
The transformation to a campus will include a clean-up of the current buildings to make sure that the architectural structures stand out and the addition of new red-brick-styled buildings to create a strong identity.
‘The consistency of using red tiles and bricks will give the campus a distinctive character and make it one of Denmark’s most architecturally significant urban areas,’ Larsen says.
And the new campus is not only being thought of as an exclusive place for students and researchers at the faculties. The hope is to build a bridge between the city and the new campus and, through the transformation, bring new life to both Aarhus University and Aarhus city on a larger scale.
‘We are disbanding the boundaries between city and campus by creating an expanded university park, which opens up towards the city and ties both together in a recreative urban space with brand new opportunities for students, citizens and visitors in Aarhus. We hope that the new University Town will enrich both the university and the city,’ Larsen ends.
FEAS is the developer behind this ambitious transformation, while AART architects are leading the advisory team including E+N, Møller & Grønborg and Trafikplan as sub-consultants.
DANISH™ has contacted the City Architect of Aarhus Stephen Willacy for a comment on the urban planning of the process from hospital to university, unfortunately without any luck.