The future school of architecture will make a generous contribution to the public life of the upcoming Godsbanearealerne quartier, while in the same time setting a new benchmark for architectural study and learning environments throughout the world.


We envision a building acting like a mediator between The Green Wedge, which brings the landscape of the Ådalen into the city, and the cultural activities of the culture plaza and Godsbanen, part of the cultural axis of the city of Aarhus.


The building volume is divided into two parts, pulled apart to create a physical connection between the two most significant public realms of the city: culture and recreation. By subdividing the two resulting volumes according to a grid, a flexible network of spaces is created. Connecting the two building volumes in the upper part provides continuous circulation internally throughout the entire structure. The resulting building volume – a Grand Arch, matches the scale of the industrial site, while defining the school courtyard as an intimate part of a sequence of larger public spaces.


The middle part of the two lower building parts is carved out, and a new central volume containing the teaching programme is extracted. By subdividing the block into a fine grain grid at human scale and ‘sculpting’ it to meet specific requirements of light and space differentiation, a pixelated volume framed by the rest of the school programme and hovering in mid-air is created. The resulting network of spaces integrates the MA and BA programme into a creative beehive: The Knowledge Cloud.


The Knowledge Cloud provides a highly flexible and centrally located space accessible from all the parts of the building - a configurable ‘creative bubble’ of interconnected spaces of different sizes and heights capable of absorbing changing needs, and shaped to nurture interaction and exchange.

It provides access to outdoor green areas as a natural extension of the teaching spaces, as well as a covered courtyard for outdoor teaching. It materializes an inspiring study space as a customizable and adaptable collection of loosely linked territories which foster experiments, innovation and an evolutionary, energetic and self-organized study praxis.


The new school and surrounding district will create a unique urban destination which expresses a clear and optimistic vision of the city as a synergistic mixed use environment supporting the development of sustainable communities.

More than a device for the effective structuring ­­­of functions, the flexible grid represents a vision of diversity, aggregating communities of all sizes into clusters brought together by high quality public spaces and landscape.


The urban qualities of the district masterplan reside in its openness, mixed-use functions, and ability to mitigate between the different scales of the surrounding urban structures. From North towards South, the urban structures gradually transform from the typical courtyard block into more fragmented structures, which secure improved access to The Green Wedge. The stacked accumulation of blocks at the Southern edge of the site provides great opportunities for staged school extension, while the high-rise structure of stacked blocks relates to the nearby Åhusene, while also allowing the creation of a high-density urban environment at a human scale. The roofs of the large parking houses accommodate a new ground zero of public activities, sports and play for the residents. The ground floor of the new school accommodates all its public –oriented activities, thereby contributing to a lively neighbourhood where access to recreation and culture are an integrated part of everyday life.


Situated at the threshold between the wild life of The Green Wedge and the lively cultural miljø of God­sbanen, the void of the school courtyard merges the rationality of the grid with the unpredictability of the organic into a space with growth potential. A glass enclosure can potentially transform the open space into a grand interior: the largest public living room in Aarhus, where students and citizens can meet and invent in a joint effort the architecture of the years to come.

Client: Aarhus School of Architecture, The Danish Building&Property Agency/Bygningsstyrelsen BYGST

Program: 13.000m2, School of Architecture, including BA and MA programmes, civic kitchen, project/meeting spaces, workshop and lab, work spaces for staff, teaching and presenting architecture, exhibition, library, internship, exchange and entrepreneurship centre, studios for artist-in-residence, storage, secondary functions

Year: 2015

Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Henrik Ulsfort, Ana Riesco, Andrea Hernandez, Ana Barbosa, Blanka Borbely

Budget: 250 mio. kr.

Status: International Competition