Pre-qualified candidates selected for the new school of architecture in Denmark

There has been much international interest in the process of pre-qualifying candidates for the restricted design competition for a new school of architecture in Denmark. The three pre-qualified candidates have been selected, and the project is now moving into the next phase: an open design competition.

As many as 42 teams from Denmark and abroad have applied to pre-qualify for participation in the restricted design competition for the first ever newly built school of architecture in Denmark. The school is expected to be ready for inauguration in 2020 and will be built in the centre of Aarhus – in an area where a goods station was formerly located.

“We are very pleased with the great interest in our new school. Over half of the applicants come from abroad – not only from Europe but also from e.g. Japan and USA,” says Torben Nielsen, Rector at Aarhus School of Architecture.


A strong field of candidates

The field of candidates was strong, but three pre-qualified candidates have now been selected. The pre-qualified candidates are:

  • LACATON & VASSAL (France) along with Powerhouse and Kristine Jensens Tegnestue
  • SANAA (Japan) along with B+G Ingenieure and Sasaki and Partners
  • BIG (Denmark) along with Transform, Rambøll and SLA

In cooperation with Aarhus School of Architecture, the Danish Building & Property Agency has selected the three candidates who were found to best meet the criteria. Overall, they make up an extremely strong field.

Uncompromising candidates

Lisa Sørensen, Project Manager at the Danish Building & Property Agency, and Torben Nielsen agree that the selection was difficult.

“However, we believe that we have found three extremely qualified candidates who can create exciting and challenging proposals for a new school. They all have an uncompromising and convincing approach to architecture. LACATON & VASSAL master brutal and raw architecture, SANAA has a poetic simplicity while BIG can contribute with a playful and experimental approach.”

The Danish Building & Property Agency communicated the news to the pre-qualified candidates Friday 13 November. They were all excited about the pre-qualification and look forward to getting to work. However, they must show a great deal of patience and wait until their future competitors have been identified in the open design competition.

The next stage is for everyone with good ideas

In the beginning of December, the Danish Building & Property Agency will announce an international design competition which is open to all architects and to students of architecture all over the world. In the open design competition three candidates will be selected.

Together with the three pre-qualified candidates, they will proceed to the restricted design competition expected to take place in the autumn of 2016. In this competition they must present their respective ideas of what the new school of architecture should look like. The winner is expected to be selected in the spring of 2017.

Additional information

Questions about the pre-qualification, the open design competition and the restricted design competition: Project Manager at the Danish Building & Property Agency, Lisa Sørensen / +45 41 70 10 14 /

Questions about Aarhus School of Architecture and the expectations for the forthcoming process: Rector Torben Nielsen / +45 89 36 02 00 /