Aarhus/ Denmark

Size/ 35,600 m²
Cost/ Approx. € 280 million excl. VAT
Competition/ 2009, first prize in restricted international competition
Status/ Completed in 2015
Client/ The Municipality of Aarhus
Client partner/ Realdania
Landscape Architect/ Arkitekt Kristine Jensens Tegnestue
Engineer/ Alectia Consulting Engineers
Client consultant/ Rambøll Denmark
Other consultants/ Bahn arkitekter
Awards/ 2017, IDA Design Awards/ 2015 Commendation, Architectural Review MIPIM Future Projects Awards/ 2015, City of Aarhus Architecture Prize/ 2016, A+ Popular Choice Award/ 2016, Public Library of the Year Award/ 2017, European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award Nomination/ 2012, Best Collaboration Award
Photo/ Adam Mørk/ Jens Marcus Lindhe/ DMJX/ Lodige Parksystem/ Kira Krøis Ursem, Byggeriets Billedbank

Dokk1 is Scandinavia's largest public library and represents a new generation of modern hybrid libraries. The 35,000 m² building also houses a citizen service centre, office space, automated parking for 1,000 cars and new harbour-side public squares. The project is situated at the mouth of the Aarhus River in one of the most prominent sites of the city centre of Aarhus. Dokk1 is not simply a building. It is a place for exchanging knowledge and opportunities and a multicultural meeting point that has changed people’s perception of the entire city.

Dokk1 is part of the ambitious district plan to revitalise the former industrial cargo docks on the harbour front by connecting the area both visually and physically to the historic centre of the city.

The leading idea is a covered urban space. A large polygonal slice hovers above a glazed prism, which rests on a square of ice flake-shaped stairs fanning out to the edge of the sea.

When Dokk1 opened its doors to the public on Saturday, 20 June 2015, it became the largest construction project by the Municipality of Aarhus in the city’s history.

The two open levels of the library are connected by the media ramp, which consists of five platforms, each dedicated to a different activity.

In Dokk1 there are also spaces for cultural events, studying, workshops, exhibitions, performances, offices, lounges, and dining.

A fully automated below ground car park and a station on the Light Rail Transit system makes Dokk1 a central traffic node for people coming to Aarhus.

Materials are few, robust and durable; concrete, wood, glass, timber and metal. Contrast plays a significant role: robust vs. refined, soft vs. hard, colour vs. white, light vs. dark.

Dokk1 has its own dedicated playground on the first floor: a special place for children, for play, adventure, and learning.

Dokk1 is a space where culture meets art. The Elmgreen & Dragset “Magic Mushrooms” art piece, a metropolis model mounted upside down, sits within the ground floor parking entrance. New Zealand artist Daniel Belton presented the biggest edition ever of his lighting installation ‘More Light’ during the Aarhus Festival.

Dokk1 won Public Library of the Year Award 2016 at a prestigious ceremony during the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) congress in Columbus, Ohio.

Back in 2016, Senior Partners Kim Holst Jensen and Kristian Lars Ahlmark travelled to NY to collect the A+ Popular Choice Award which Dokk1 scooped in the Libraries category.

Dokk1 is a Danish Low Energy Class Building 2015. As regards the design of the building as a whole and its technical installations, efforts have been made to find sustainable solutions suited to the construction itself and its surroundings.

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