A rustic tribute to the harbour front

It is always a good sign when architects and engineers choose a building they have created from the ground up for their own headquarters. This virtually guarantees an excellent location, quality materials and construction, and a bold architecture, as the building serves as both a daily base and a clear example of their ability to translate vision into reality in three dimensions.

Troldtekt, Pakhusene Aarhus Harbour
Photo: Thomas Mølvig, architect

Pakhusene (the Warehouses) – on the waterfront of the new Aarhus Ø district – have been designed by AART architects, who have an office on the top floor with magnificent views of the city and the bay. The three high-rise buildings are slightly offset from each other, but because they stand out from the surrounding buildings it is natural to view them as a single unit. Once completed, the Pakhusene complex will consist of five buildings with a total floor area of 36,000 m2.

Mixed commercial and residential use

The largest of the high-rises – 10 storeys high – is a flexible commercial building housing a wide variety of companies on leases. At street level there is a fitness centre with a sauna, together with the building’s shared cafeteria and a coffee bar. The two tower blocks contain well-apportioned owner-occupied flats, which also have access to some of the facilities in the commercial building.

The waterfront is still being developed, but so far only residential buildings have been built. This can easily lead to an imbalance if the intention is to create a vibrant urban district. Pakhusene’s ‘gaining by sharing’ approach is therefore a welcome innovation in Aarhus Ø.

The exterior walls are made of blackish brown brick. Pakhusene will therefore patinate more beautifully over time than the neighbouring white concrete buildings. The interiors are generally austere. Concrete surfaces, visible installations and ceilings covered with natural grey Troldtekt acoustic panels with a fine structure. There is therefore plenty of scope for the various tenants to furnish the rooms to suit their specific tastes and needs.