Based on the winning proposals from the open design competition and the Jury Report, we have, in cooperation with Aarhus Municipality, determined the final site, just as we have implemented a user process involving students and staff at the school. In this process, themes such as the city and the public, the workplace, study and research environments and building physics were in focus.


Along with the knowledge achieved through the open design competition, this work resulted in a competition brief for the restricted design competition, which marked the beginning of the next step towards the final design of the future school of architecture. See the competition brief for the restricted design competition here.


The three winning teams from the open design competition were, just as the three pre-qualified teams, invited to the restricted design competition which was launched 1 August 2016.


On 17 March 2017, a unanimous jury announced the newly established practice Vargo Nielsen Palle, led by three recently qualified architects, as the winner of the restricted design competition, together with ADEPT, Rolvung & Brøndsted Arkitekter, Tri-Consult and Steensen Varming.


The two-stage competition was precisely intended to give young, untested talents an opportunity to contribute.


The Danish Building & Property Agency are going to enter a contract with the team behind the project. Subsequently, the project will be processed and detailed further through dialogues with the students and staff of the school before the project is expected to be offered as a design- and-build contract in the autumn. The winning consulting team will, together with the chosen design-and-build contractor, be responsible for the detailed design and for bringing the project home.


See more about the project and find the jury report here.


This open design competition was the first exciting step towards a new school of Architecture in Aarhus - the first time ever a new school of architecture is going to be built in Denmark.


After many years in outdated facilities, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Aarhus School of Architecture have agreed on obtaining a new building for the school. To manage and develop the project, Aarhus School of Architecture has chosen the Danish Building & Property Agency. The competition was moreover launched with the assistance of the Danish Architects’ Association and with funding from Realdania.


The aim of the open design competition was to re-think the programming of a modern school of architecture and achieve the best, most visionary ideas. Aarhus School of Architecture and the Danish Building & Property Agency were therefore delighted to invite all architects and architecture students to present their ideas for the new school. They hoped for the engagement and participation of the entire profession and the result was overwhelming. 230 entries from across the world. We are very grateful and will like to thank all the entrants for all the hard work they have put into the project.

See more statements from the jury in the press release at:


About Aarhus School of Architecture (AAA)

AAA is one of two national schools of architecture in Denmark. The school currently has a student population of approximately 750 and a staff of 140. All students are provided with individual work spaces at the school; these are available and used 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 


The aim of AAA is to carry out research and artistic development work at the highest level with the purpose of continually qualifying the education, architectural practice, and the public’s understanding of architecture. The school has chosen an artistic approach to the discipline and an approach that engages with society. This requires students and staff to re-think, experiment, provoke and question norms and dogmas that are normally taken for granted. 


About the Danish Building & Property Agency (BYGST)

BYGST is the developer of the NEW AARCH project and thereby the initiator of this competition. 


BYGST is the property enterprise and devel­oper of the Danish state. The agency is responsible for creating modern, functional and cost-effective frameworks for some of the most important government institutions in Denmark, such as, for instance, the universities, the police, the courts and, of course, the central administration. With a total property portfolio of approximately 4 million m2 and with current and planned construction projects for a total cost of approximately DKK 14 billion, BYGST is one of the largest public developers in Denmark.


Engaging Through Architecture



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Thanks to all the participants in the open design competition. See the impressive collection of ideas in the gallery below.




    • Danish Building & Property Agency

      Kristian Lyk-Jensen

      Vice Director (chairman of the jury)

    • Danish Building & Property Agency

      Signe Primdal Kæregaard

      Appointed temporarily as Project Director

    • Aarhus School of Architecture

      Ingelise Bogason

      Chairman of the Board

    • Aarhus School of Architecture

      Torben Nielsen


    • Realdania

      Lars Autrup

      Project Director

    • Vandkunsten

      Jens Thomas Arnfred

      Architect MAA (design professional)

    • Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

      Reiulf Ramstad

      Architect (design professional)

    • Aarhus Municipality

      Erik Jespersen

      Director of Technical and Environmental Services (Advisor to the jury)

    • Aarhus Municipality

      Stephen Willacy

      City Architect (Advisor to the jury)


    These are the three shortlisted firms and your possible competitors:


    The open design competition was an open call for participation and evaluated based on two key criterias: "idea, architecture, function" and "relation to the site". The jury has selected three winners among the 230 entries.  


    After the open design competition, the final brief for the new school was specified based on the outcome of the competition. Based on this, BYGST has arranged a restricted design competition, in which we plan to find the ultimate winner and thereby the designer of the new school. The three winners of the open design competition have been invited to participate in the restricted design competition along with three prequalified participants. This means a total of six participants – three selected on the basis of the prequalification, and three appointed on the basis of the open design competition.


    BYGST expects the total process for the project to proceed as follows:

    • Prequalification of three participants for the restricted design competition
    • Open design competition with three winners which will be appointed to participate in the restricted design competition.
    • Restricted design competition with one winner
    • Entering of a full-service consultancy contract with the said winner
    • The full-service consultant produces an outline proposal (dispositionsforslag)
    • A design-build contract will be put out to tender
    • The full-service consultant is affiliated with the design and build contractor as their consultant
    • Detailed project design and construction


    We are looking forward to the next exciting step! 


    1. 13 November
      Prequalification for restricted design competition
    2. 15 December
      Launch of open design competition
    1. 7 January
      Deadline for queries
    2. 1 February
      Deadline for submission
    3. 4 April
      Announcement of winners and exhibition in Aarhus
    4. 1 August
      Restricted design competition
    5. 17 March


    The competition site is located at the heart of Aarhus at Godsbanearealerne (a former railway goods yard) close to the railway station and activities in the city centre. A large centre for cultural production, established in 2012 in the newly renovated railway goods building, will be the nearest neighbour to the new school of architecture.


    Over the coming years, the area will undergo an exciting transformation, developing into a locus for cultural and artistic activities - with Aarhus School of Architecture located as a strategic focal point at Godsbanearealerne.


    The school of architecture will become a major driver for the further development of the area. We hope for some interesting neighbours with a great deal of synergy between institutions, cultural offers and residences that will help us to create a vibrant and attractive new urban area in Aarhus. For this reason an essential part of the open design competition was to suggest which other programmes should be located in the area and how these programmes should be arranged. 


    Competition Site






    Questions regarding the competition must be sent in writing, to the project manager at the Danish Building & Property Agency; Lisa Sørensen at