Located on a former industrial cargo dock, between the waterfront and the historical city centre of Aarhus, Dokk1 is the centrepiece in the revitalisation and integration of the depleted harbour areas. Housing the Central Library, citizens’ services, workplaces for the municipality as well as a group of companies and networks, Dokk1 offers a dynamic environment for learning, knowledge sharing, cultural and social activities. More than a building, Dokk1 is a “state of mind” that transfers from building to individual and back again. It is where community, experimentation, and individual expression enrich civic life.
The modern library is a meeting place; an open, public space – a ‘third space’ between the home and the workplace – where users can meet other people, those who are like themselves as well as those who are completely different. Thus, the library is a special kind of public space, and a place that must provide a setting for meaningful personal experiences - the kind that move and enliven us. Dokk1 was designed in collaboration with and for the city of Aarhus, where citizens are viewed as key creative actors throughout the life of the project. The engagement process was built on credibility, respect, and true engagement, where all voices are treated as equals. Citizens, users, representatives from local and national organizations, current and future partners, library staff, consultants and selected experts were involved in the creative process. It is this iterative design process that helped shape Dokk1 into what it is today – an interface between society and its citizens, a creative and democratic community, the cultural heart of Aarhus.
The completion of Dokk1 marked a paradigm shift from libraries emphasising physical media to become places focused on people and their relations to their surroundings. Dokk1 reflects the dynamic multidisciplinary thinking that will no doubt define our future, both in its professional organisation as well as in the way the design accommodates synergic relationships so naturally with its spatial generosity.