Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects [LOHA]

Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects [LOHA]

Los Angeles, CA


Aarhus School of Architecture

The New Aarhus School of Architecture positions the practice and theory of architecture as a critical creative engine. Placed within a vital, new urban district centered on cultural production, the school will harness this raw, creative energy to actively complement and openly participate in this social, cultural, and artistic hub of the city.

Mediating landscape with the urban edge, the site’s location as a key component of the Godsbanearealerne Development Plan will reinforce the legacy of its industrial past by activating a constantly evolving zone for the production and discussion of new ideas, positioning architecture as a vital conduit for urban and societal change. Reflective of the cultural, urban forces shaping the school’s environment, the first new built school of architecture in Denmark has the responsibility of reciprocating and reaffirming its role in the city by demonstrating the value and importance of architecture to civic life.

The school’s current decentralized facilities diffuse the power of the school’s mission across many locations. The design of the New Aarhus School of Architecture builds upon the diversity, informality, and rich experimentation of the school’s current configuration and establishes a center by organizing the school along an array of large, interconnected shed-like structures. Inspired by the vernacular of the site’s industrial heritage, the seven buildings are distinct in form and program. These structures are then stitched together through an accessible circulatory edge that connects the school’s amenities both internally and externally towards the cultural district and Aarhus, facilitating public engagement. The open, factory-like framework creates a raw, flexible infrastructure for experimentation, research and pedagogical growth but uses the capacities of architecture – orientation, adjacencies, indoor-outdoor porosity, and natural light – to suggest both spontaneous and more permanent uses and guide future development.

The primary circulation loop activates the transitional zones within the school to amplify moments of exchange between students, research, theory, work, and the public at large. The structures enclose a spectrum of activities ranging from public programs to more privatized studios, allowing students to focus on individual work while participating in the shared ecosystem of the school and city. The open plan promotes flexibility across the variety of building types, allowing the school to finely calibrate and quickly adapt the facilities to meet their needs and accommodate their growth and change over time. Further resulting from the overlapping and layering of programs, the plan and sectional solutions offered by the design begin to break boundaries between places of study and workshops, administration and exhibition, quiet and social spaces, making the various activities of the school more transparent and accessible.

The surrounding complex of buildings embrace the untamed energy of the school through a complementary program of student housing, live-work studios, and other commercial uses that will support the creative life of the campus. The resulting urban environment will provide a rich laboratory that reaffirms Aarhus as a world-class innovator in smart city solutions, creating a place where students, researchers, and practitioners can test ideas and collaborate. This proposal for the New Aarhus School of Architecture harnesses the propulsive, innovative dynamism of the school and cultivates a magnetism that draws the public in and circulates its ideas outwards to affect change.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Aarhus, DK