Aarhus DK

Type Invited competition 2016, 2. Phases 1st prize
Team Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Loop Architects, COWI and 2+1 Idébureau
Role Responsible for urban space and landscape
Client Municipality of Aarhus
Project Start 2017
Status Ongoing


The Sports and Culture Campus forms the new heart of Gellerup, with three actions and a safe and welcoming square that supports positive change in the multi-ethnic neighbourhood.


Gellerup Park is a large multi-ethnic social housing area just outside Aarhus that hasa bad reputation as unsafe and unwelcoming. The new Sports and Culture Campus is part of a long-term strategy to create openness and add new functions to attract people from Aarhus and the surrounding cities.

The large water element attracts both children and adults to enjoy the reflections of the sky or for a game of ‘the floor is lava’. The water flows over the edge and into a streambed in the concrete surface. On a hot summer day, kids can splash around in the stream or sail paper boats along it.

Action 1: Encouraging a large variation of people to create a safe and welcoming urban space

We have designed a square and buildings that ensure people will be either in the square or overlooking it from inside the buildings at all times.

A mix of people of different ages, genders and backgrounds establishes a safe atmosphere.

A circle of lights creates a stage in the empty area in the middle of the square. We have kept this area open for various events throughout the seasons such as harvest markets andflea markets, shows and exhibitions during the colder months.

Action 2: Letting the indoors and the outdoors melt together

We have organised the buildings to create niches along the edges of the square and ensure sheltered spots independently of season and wind direction.

Transparent façades erase the borders between buildings and square, and the design of the square edges supports the activities of the buildings.


Action 3: Using abstract shapes to inspire urban life 

We have furnished the square with multifunctional shapes that rise from the surface to create a fun and inspiring environment. The shapes appeal to the imagination and can generate many different activities depending on the user.

Skaters will see a perfect spot for skating and hanging out, young children can slide down the sides and use the shapes to direct their games, and adults can play along or sit down and do some people gazing.

Abstractly shaped furniture appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds and people use itactively for skating or as part of a game of tag.

It can also facilitate a sit-down in the middle of a group of playing children or a spot for reading the newspaper in the sun.