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ARoS Museum

Aarhus/ Denmark

Size/ 17,700 m²
Cost/ € 40 million excl. VAT
Competition/ 1997, 1st prize in open international competition
Status/ Construction period 2001 – 2004
Client/ Aarhus Municipality
Engineer/ Niras A/S
Acoustic engineer/ Jordan Acoustics
Interior design/ shldesign
Awards/ 2004, Aarhus Municipality’s Architecture Prize/ 2004, FX Awards Best Museum/ 2004, InSitu Prize

ARoS is the cultural centrepiece of Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city and one the largest museums of its kind in Northern Europe. The building is designed specifically to welcome visitors, straddling a public thoroughfare that transforms the building into a bridge linking two of the city’s cultural centres. This public route through the museum provides a vital connection with the network of streets beyond, encouraging dynamic interplay between the museum and everyday life.

The building, set into the sloping site, has a footprint of 52 x 52 metres and stands almost 50 metres high. In contrast to the apparent severity of the exterior, the dazzling white interior, flooded with daylight, presents a sequence of highly organic sweeping curves that define the different levels of the building.

A spectacular spiral staircase rises up from the museum walkway, a sculptural form wrapping around two lift shafts, together providing dramatic connections to the exhibition galleries.

High-level bridges traverse the ‘canyon’ of the atrium space, creating dynamic connections between the two core areas of the museum.

In contrast to the apparent severity of the exterior, the dazzling white interior, flooded with daylight, presents a sequence of highly organic sweeping curves that define the different levels of the building.

In 2011 A physical and artistic dimension was added to the museum with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and "Your Rainbow Panorama", a permanent artwork hovering like a luminous circle and a visual link between the museum roof and the Aarhus skyline. The installation creates the sensation of walking through the interior of a rainbow – visitors are able to enjoy spectacular views over the city filtered through every gradation of colour.

ARoS has ambitious expansion plans aimed at keeping the museum within the world elite of modern art museums. “The Next Level “expansion project is leading art towards new ways of expressions and content with an exciting collaboration with World renowned American artist, James Turrell. The expansion will contain a 1,200 m2 subterranean gallery and two semi-subterranean art installations, ‘The Sphere’ and ‘The Dome’. We are working in close collaboration with the artist designing the €30 million expansion that will merge art and architecture into a new civic experience.

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