Aarhus architecture biennale intends to grow

The architectural scene in Aarhus is like one big family, which in 2014 was brought together in The Architecture Project. The business cluster promotes Aarhus-based architects while creating jobs in the creative industries.

This is happening, among other things, through events such as Rising Architecture Week, which is taking place on 11-15 September in Aarhus. Jørgen Bach, chair of The Architecture Project and a partner at Arkitema Architects, describes the cluster’s ambitions here.

The Rising Architecture Week biennale will be a display window for Aarhus-based architecture. Hospitals, schools, universities, Denmark’s first light railway, museums, libraries and exciting residential developments are all going on display. In connection with Aarhus’s role as European Capital of Culture 2017, architects, investors, contractors, town planners, local politicians and everyone involved in the construction industry in both Denmark and abroad must be able to see what Aarhus’s architects are capable of. 

– Aarhus 2017 is a perfect opportunity to launch Rising Architecture Week. Europe’s gaze is directed at Aarhus, and everyone on the architectural scene must take advantage of this to promote our strengths which are urban development, buildings in the health sector, sustainable housing and liveable cities, says Jørgen Bach, a partner at Arkitema Architects and chair of The Architecture Project (TAP).


A close professional community

TAP, which is organising Rising Architecture Week, was formed in 2014 as a continuation of the natural sense of community that has always characterised the architectural scene in Aarhus. Despite its size, the city has a large number of architects.

– We have been to the same school of architecture, and worked for the same firms. This has resulted in almost familial ties, so the architecture cluster in Aarhus has always been there. In 2014, the partnership was formalised in TAP, gaining also a promotional perspective, explains Jørgen Bach.

TAP’s most distinguished task according to its chairman is to highlight the strengths of the city’s architects and create new jobs within the creative industries.

– It is 15 years ago that an architectural practice started in Aarhus which has grown to more than 50 employees. And new talents graduating from the school immediately buy a single ticket to Copenhagen. This is a problem for the industry. We must support business development and the start-up of new firms of architects in Aarhus because there are lots of exciting projects and opportunities here, says Jørgen Bach.


Young talents and attention

TAP offers, for example, mentor schemes and backing for architectural start-ups to avoid a situation where public-sector clients hesitate to hire untested architects for large projects. At the same time, TAP organises various events which are designed to attract international attention. Rising Architecture Week is just one of them.

– We are very aware that the lights will fade on the Capital of Culture year in 2018. The initiatives launched during Aarhus 2017 will hopefully have convinced the politicians that their support and understanding are very important for the architecture cluster in West Denmark. And hopefully, the interest in urban development and architecture will not vanish in 2018, says Jørgen Bach.

  • An architecture biennale with workshops, installations, lectures and events in the city.
  • The focus is on discussing how architecture can play a significant role in providing innovative solutions to the challenges facing society in future.
  • Daan Roosegarde (NL), Jan Gehl (DK), Rob Adams (AUS), John Thackra (UK) and the architects’ collective Raumlabor (DE) are some of the participants who will be sharing their views through artworks and debates.
  • Everyone with an interest in architecture and urban development is invited to participate in and make an active contribution to Rising Architecture Week 2017.
  • Troldtekt is an official partner for the biennale, which is being held on 11-15 September in Aarhus.
  • See the full programme for Rising Architecture Week.