Modern development of former textile factory

The area is a hive of activity, both inside and out. The young students can easily be distinguished by their chosen professions. They walk around, carrying chef’s hats, curlers or laptops. Aarhus Tech, a vocational training and educational institution, offers a range of study programmes on the site of a former textile factory in central Aarhus.

Troldtekt, Aarhus Tech
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

The red-brick buildings with their high windows testify to a different era when the city grew with industrialisation. Today, the impressive buildings bear witness to a new chapter in the story of Denmark’s second-largest city, a chapter characterised by the development of existing as well as new educational institutions. Aarhus Tech neighbours the Ceres district, where beer production has been replaced with residential properties and the large VIA University College. CUBO Arkitekter was responsible for the Aarhus Tech project, which comprises an extension to the former industrial buildings, a new building and the modernisation of the existing buildings. In the midst of it all, a popular outdoor space has been created for the students by the landscape architects Møller & Grønborg.

Carefully selected materials
One of the brick facades of the industrial building now runs alongside the main stairwell at Aarhus Tech, acting as a large, warm and decorative surface. The floors are red linoleum, the doors are made of wood, and the ceilings are clad with Troldekt acoustic panels. The few, carefully selected materials and colours create a calm atmosphere while ensuring good acoustics in the large, interconnected rooms, where students work independently or in groups. As one of the teachers explains, the acoustics are extremely important in a building where students are busy with hair-dryers and hair-washing, while others are being taught in the open spaces.

Glass partitions in the classrooms add transparency for a welcoming, yet visually uncluttered feel. Per Ravn from CUBO Arkitekter says that they set out to create a modern architectural look using today’s building materials while respecting the existing industrial architecture. In the new building, concrete has been used in several places in keeping with the industrial feel together with a few other high-quality materials.