Reopening Aarhus River

Horizontal and vertical displacements are used to create differently shaped stairways and sitting/relaxing areas. A water stairway is constructed in a central location and comprises a vibrant place to meet in the city.


Project: Reopening Aarhus River

Role: Landscape architect

Size: DKK 110 million

Location: Aarhus

Client: City of Aarhus

Lead architect: Frode Birk Nielsen

The reopening of Aarhus River has revitalised the city centre of Aarhus. What used to be a heavily trafficked thoroughfare for lorry traffic to the Port of Aarhus is now a valuable neighbourhood of cafés, restaurants and shops where people meet, talk and shop. Sweco Architects was commissioned to draft a master plan, including manuals for vegetation, surfacing, lighting and stairways. The master plan gave priority to creating varied themes that in different ways brought focus to bear on creating coherence and contact between water and land.

After this, Sweco Architects designed the new course of the pedestrian streets Søndergade and Åboulevarden. The reopening Aarhus River is the key element along Åboulevarden. Horizontal and vertical displacements are used by the riverbank walls for the creation of unique and differently shaped stairways and areas for sitting/relaxing. A water stairway is a central feature and the sound of its trickling water contrasts with the peaceful flow of the river. Priority was given to infusing the urban space with a qualitative, harmonious and cohesive character by using granite materials for various functions and in a variety of colours and patterns.