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Circular building materials

Climate change adaptation



7. June 2022

Solution provider


ADEPT focus on urban development and building architecture with an aim to push users, clients, profession and the world around us towards a deeper responsibility for the limited global resources. We design holistic and sustainable places, spaces and communities within a wide range of architectural scales - from urban planning and strategic development to building architecture, landscapes and public space.

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A longstanding wish from the Aarhus School of Architecture has been to bring together its former satellites at one location to create a more holistic framework for both student and faculty as well as more energy and resource friendly operations. The vision was a building that in itself would encourage a stronger and more synergetic identity for the school. They wished for a blank canvas, not an icon; a flexible frame, not a defining structure. The challenge was to balance the need for raw spaces that could be inhabited, used and challenged on a daily basis – while at the same time adapting to a complex urban context and a perhaps even more complex stakeholder landscape.


NEW AARCH is designed as a framework for workshop-based learning and creative synergy. The architecture’s raw details, exposed leading and internal organization communicate what makes up a building, how to reinforce a design through simple materials, and how architecture can take a back seat to users’ everyday lives. The simplicity of the architecture is a detailed response to the school’s need for robust spaces that allow for experimentation with new learning methods. The spatial organization makes study activities visible and present – and therefore helps to encourage community, professionalism and synergy across gender, discipline and year of study.

The building is realized with integrated solutions and maximum flexibility. A narrow material palette reduces resource consumption, including a focus on local production and transport chains. Concrete was the most optimal solution for the requirement of large and resilient spaces, and therefore close work was done with the manufacturer to reduce material consumption, maximize the use of recycled materials and encourage zero-waste production. Other measures include upcycling the block flooring from industrial window production and upcycling the library from a nearby historic building.


The building was completed in an innovative partner model, which shows a new direction for interdisciplinary collaboration. The model is based, among other things, on extensive user and neighbour involvement, and blurs internal hierarchies in the project organization to promote a transparent development process and strong ownership at all stakeholder levels.

The urban space around the school is part of a research project that aims to reuse building materials from building to landscape, test climate solutions and move biotopes from one place to another. The aim is to reduce energy consumption by up to 50% compared to the sum of the architecture school’s previous buildings.


Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Client: Danish Building and Property Agency / Aarhus School of Architecture
Program: Architecture school + public space
Size: 12.500 m2
Status: Completed 2021
Lead consultant: ADEPT
Collaborators: Tri-Consult, A. Enggaard A/S, Vargo Nielsen Palle, Rolvung & Brøndsted Arkitekter, Steensen Varming, Lendager Arktekter, Etos Ingeniører, A2, Nord, Praksis Arkitekter, Lea Porsager

Images: Rasmus Hjortshøj