In 1941, at the height of World War II in Western Europe, the city of Aarhus, Denmark achieved an unusual architectural feat. It finished construction on a brand new city hall that was to be a beacon of democratic governance while the city lay under direct Nazi occupation. Designed four years earlier by the heralded duo of Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller, the Rådhus survived the war and became an internationally recognized classic of Danish modernism.
BIG‘s LEGO House is now under construction, following a one of a kind foundation laying ceremony featuring – what else – supersized lego bricks. Bjarke Ingels himself was in attendance to lay one of the foundation bricks. Constructed in LEGO‘s hometown of Billund, Denmark, the LEGO House will be a 12,000 square metre “hands-on minds-on experience centre.”
More on the LEGO House, and the foundation laying ceremony, after the break
Denmark‘s exhibition for the 2014 Venice Biennale focuses on the country’s history as a pioneer in the development of a welfare state, and the role that architecture, in connection with art, literature and science had in creating an aesthetic manifestation of this ’better life for all’. By exploring the output of a range of fields in connection to a wider social movement, Empowerment of Aesthetics comes to a fuller understanding of how modernity affected architecture in Denmark.
Danish architects BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) have just released ambitious designs for a zoo in Givskud, Denmark. It’s a project that provides an intriguing opportunity for, as BIG explains, the creation of a space with “the best possible and freest possible environment for the animals’ lives and relationships with each other and visitors.” The firm has been working for the past two years to make Zootopia what the Danish press is calling “the world’s most advanced zoo.” According to Givskud Zoo‘s director Richard Østerballe, the park’s transformation will benefit greatly from BIG’s fresh approach to design–one that has been characterized by the integration of nature and natural elements into cutting-edge, innovative architecture.
The project will attempt to “integrate and hide buildings” within the landscape. Upon entering the zoo, visitors can either enter a large central square or climb the “building-landscape,” allowing them to get a general overview of the layout of the park. From this central element, visitors can access different areas of the zoo. A 4km hiking trail connects the different areas (which represent the continents of Africa, America and Asia).
The first phase is expected to be completed in 2019 to coincide with the park’s 50th anniversary.
Read on for more images and BIG’s project statement.
Svendborg Architects and junya.ishigami+associates have won first place in the HOPE foundation’s House of Peace Competition. The competition brief calls for a monumental architectural installation to be built in the city harbor of Copenhagen, one that will endure as a lasting symbolic form devoted to world peace. The firms’ winning entry is a floating, cloud-like structure that seems almost to hover over the harbor’s horizon.
C.F. Møller Architects have won in an invited competition to design a new building for the Herningsholm Vocational School in Herning, Denmark. The new building consists of three angular building volumes, brought together under a single sloping roof, which responds to its context among other buildings on the school’s campus by going from three stories on the Southern end to two in the North.
The architects describe the building as being “designed inside-out… as well as outside-in”, with a dual focus on providing optimal learning spaces inside but also on providing learning spaces in the three outside areas defined by the building’s volume.
More on the design after the break
The Danish Agency for Culture has unveiled a new award for Library architecture as part of its Model Programme for Public Libraries project, a programme in association with Realdania which aims to generate new ideas about how the design of public libraries can change to meet the changing needs of today’s society.
The award, which will be announced at the annual conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in Lyon, France, is sponsored by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and has a prize of DKK 25,000.
More on the award, and how to enter, after the break