School of Architecture and Framework



An urban framework for the Godsbanen area of Aarhus uses long linear forms. Evident in the area surrounding the site and in the geometry of the railway land these forms create a grain of buildings and spaces with a wider, flexible range of uses. The site is planned as a mat – a diverse network of lanes, buildings, yards and habitats. This loose framework embraces the three existing buildings, all of which are retained and re-used, to help ground the historical continuity of the development.

This arrangement allows the programme of the School of Architecture to expand or contract in more or less of the building depending upon budget and programme. The mat contains approximately 40,000 sq.m of accommodation in line with the masterplan.

A green wedge continues from the adjacent sites and intertwines with the mat of lanes, spaces and buildings. Biodiversity is encouraged throughout the site based upon native species and the development of the local eco-system. New habitats will be fostered through careful use of insect bricks, bird boxes and other nesting types based upon an analysis of the local eco-system.

The buildings are considered as open structures that combine programmed and loose spaces. This flexibility is created by providing strong, robust, characterful spaces whose constraints invite occupation. This flexiblity is inherently sustainable allowing the building to meet both anticipated and unknown future needs without the need for re-building with its associated financial and embodied energy costs.

This is not a pristine place. It uses raw, unfinished materials and has a sense of incompleteness as an invitation to contribute, use and occupy the buildings in a very direct way. Yards might be messy places, wall surfaces be used for the display of work, graffiti might appear, spaces might be put to unforeseen uses… …people will take ownership of Godsbanen.