New wooden building for Aarhus – from end-of-life ceiling panels to living facades.
- Aarhus C
- Boligkontoret Aarhus
- 7.385 m² | 89 homes
- Capital expenditure
- 110 mio. kr.
- Consultant architect
- Konsortiet Q-Construction, Enkon og Frede Andersen VVS | MOE | VEGA Landskab
- UN Sustainability Goals 3, 11 and 12
Community, out-of-the-ordinary housing and upcycling
Community, out-of-the-ordinary housing and upcycling sum up a new wooden building containing 89 apartments in Knudrisgade in Aarhus. The competition project for Boligkontoret Aarhus was won by the Q-Konsortium team.
The vision has been to create a building that matches the setting and its scale, but also brings new experiences to the local environment. A building that challenges the preconceptions about public housing with its double-height spatialities and unusual floor plans. A building that looks toward the future with its exceptional sustainability approach, while also incorporating the past by reusing parts of the existing building.
Knudrisrækkerne will be located in Knudrisgade, on the site of the former national registry office. A place that is very well known to all newcomers to the city. The registry office closed in 2017, and has since been used as a youth culture centre. Sweco Architects is helping to build 89 new apartments here, which will provide the setting for a community – not just for the residents, but also the immediate area.
The old office building, which previously housed the national registry office and is now temporarily serving as a youth culture centre, will be demolished and potentially upcycled as part of a 7,385 m2 apartment building in the centre of Aarhus. The area is currently primarily a parking area, but also serves as a shortcut for locals and includes the popular Skattekisten day care centre.
Construction zones and site preparation
The plot is divided into 6 construction zones, within which the future building will be placed. The neighbouring buildings will also be developed in line with the same local plan down the track. In addition to demolishing and upcycling the existing building as far as possible, contaminated soil also needs to be removed.
When the building zones are filled out according to the requirements of the local plan, a natural division of the plot arises. Given the east side’s status as a local shortcut, this zone will be developed in a more urban direction, and the road link will be retained and expanded.
Parking and waste management facilities will therefore be placed on this side. As a counterpart to the urban zone, a greener west side will be established. Pleasant landscapes and space for recreation will be established here.
Identity and scale
The mix of building structures will be scaled to naturally blend in with the various scales in the area – a variegated facade look will be actively pursued.
The site has been home to a number of structures in turn over the last 100 years – from stables, to a workshop and factory and most recently an office building and youth culture centre. If you looked at the carbon footprint for the site, rather than for the buildings, you would probably find that it was visible from the moon – there has been so much demolition and construction during the last 100 years.
A new approach is therefore necessary in relation to reducing the carbon footprint. The project is addressing this by reusing the largest carbon culprits in the existing building – the aluminium ceiling panels and the windows. These will be upcycled and form part of the facade for the new apartments – as part of a visible sustainability strategy.
Using wood for the construction will help raise the DGNB score and ensure the owner achieves a gold certification. The criteria related to life cycle, environment, demolition and recycling will particularly score well.
The existing complex consists of two buildings – the main building from 1967, and an extension from 1991. The material analysis concluded that concrete, bricks, windows and aluminium ceilings from the existing building can be reused.
Condition of the buildings
The conclusion following the secondary environmental report is that the contamination of the buildings is much more extensive than first thought. The buildings are generally so contaminated by PCBs that it will take careful financial prioritisation to decontaminate the basic structures before they can be upcycled effectively in the new buildings.
The focus is on upcycling the materials with the largest carbon footprint, to prioritise the efforts. These are the aluminium ceiling panels and the uncontaminated window structures in the building from 1991.
We will use the upcycled materials where they contribute the most identity to the project. The aluminium ceiling panels will be upcycled and used for the facade, and the existing window structures will be incorporated into distinctive new two-storey window sections.
Living quality and community
Knudrisrækkerne will give Aarhus Midtby and Boligkontoret Århus a distinctive public housing complex that is out of the ordinary. The building will cater for group sizes across the spectrum – with units designed to allow everyone to find an attractive home at an affordable rent. The project will bring sustainability into the heart of the city. With its five storeys, it will become Aarhus’ tallest wooden housing development, while also reusing parts of the former registry office in a new and distinctive way.
Living quality has been a key focus of the project. The classic living quality often associated with public housing, offering well-designed, compact family homes at low rent. As well as more unusual qualities, such as in the units with two-storey rooms, townhouses with private rooftop gardens under open skies, and penthouses with views of Aarhus Ø.