On Monday, 16 March, 2007, the winning proposal of the urban area on Aarhus Harbour was revealed in the Town Hall of Aarhus, Denmark. The winning Light*house project consists of approx. 40,000 m² of private as well as non-profit housing facilities and 20,000 m² of commercial facilities. The international Light*house consortium will create a beautiful and versatile urban area, that will be characterized by openness, vividness and multiplicity. The total investment amounts to approx. €250 million.
"Aarhus will have the most unique harbour front in Denmark with innovative architecture created especially for this place and for this city. The constructions will provide Aarhus with a spectacular and beautiful face towards the Bay of Aarhus and at the same time be safe and pleasant to live in and to be in," says Kim Herforth Nielsen, architect MAA and partner of 3XN in Denmark which in cooperation with UNStudio from the Netherlands are the architects of the winning proposal.
Artist impression of the Light*house project
The proposal offers an entirely new harbour promenade with evening sun and public access to the unique view of the bay from the top floor of the high-rise. The tower will be 130 meter tall; add to this a glass canopy of 10-12 meter, so that the total height will be 140-142 meter. The residential facilities of the district will vary with cafe environments, restaurants and open squares which enable common free-time activities. Over time, the plan is that the area will be free of cars all cars will be parked in an underground parking facility. In return, the area will offer perfect conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
Bird's eye view of the Light*house Project
"The attractiveness of the views is one of the strongest points of the location; living there, you live the view. The outstanding quality of the views results in a different sort of apartment building; one in which the façade becomes as important on the inside as it is from the outside," says Ben van Berkel from UNStudio.
Diversity through mix of owning and renting
Light*house meets the Municipality of Aarhus' innovative vision of a healthy balance between different types of houses and income groups in the new district. The requirement from the Municipality was that 25% of the residences are to be non-profit rental houses. 100 of the 400 houses will therefore be owned by the housing associations Arbejdernes Andels Boligforening and Boligforeningen Ringgården. "This is the first time a Danish municipality requires such a high portion of non-profit rental houses in this type of urban development project. This facilitates social diversity and access to the attractive residences also for middle-income groups," says Anders Rønnebro, CEO of Arbejdernes Andels Boligforening, one of the two housing associations that participate in the Light*house consortium.
The requirement of a mix of owner-occupied and rental houses is well-known from the Netherlands. The rental and owner-occupied houses will have the same architectural expression.
Lifestyle and culture
"We have had very good cooperation about the project development and with the Municipality of Aarhus, and we are looking forward to developing the unique architecture, which is based on thorough studies of trends in culture and lifestyle, the marvellous location of this area as well as due consideration of wind and weather conditions," says Jan Pedersen, CEO of Keops Development, which together with Frederiksbjerg Ejendomme is main investor in the consortium.
The consortium also counts the housing association Boligforeningen Ringgården. The group of advisors which has been in charge of the project development in cooperation with the consortium has solid international experience, also within high-rise construction and construction close to water. The design team consists of architects 3XN and UNStudio from the Netherlands, Gehl Architects that specialise in urban development and Grotmij | Carl Bro as consulting engineers.
The construction is expect