The largest public library in Scandinavia, Dokk1, has just opened this past weekend. Designed by schmidt hammer lassen architects, the building represents a new generation of modern, hybrid libraries. The 30,000 sq m building is part of the Urban Mediaspace project, which is transforming the harbour front of Aarhus. The project, which is the largest in Aarhus’s history, comprises the new library, a citizen service centre, automatic parking for 1,000 cars and new harbour-side public squares.
The large, polygonal, covered urban space is located at the mouth of the Aarhus River and flanked by forests, a recreational belt has been created through which a new light railway will run with a dedicated station at Dokk1.
The glass building is designed as an open urban space with 360-degree views of the water, harbour forest and city. There is no defined front or back, which is emphasised by the multi-edged top slice that creates the impression of rotation and movement.
The top floor contains the municipal administration offices and rental offices. The two open levels are connected by a ramp, which consists of five platforms, each dedicated to an activity: exhibitions, gaming, interactive workshops, reading and events. Combined with the literature and media sections, the media ramp meanders through the building, leading up to the children’s area.
Kim Holst Jensen, Senior Partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects explains the concept of the building: “Dokk1 is not simply a building. It is a place for exchanging knowledge and opportunities and a multicultural meeting point that will change people’s perception of the entire city. Dokk1 enhances this special setting with an architecture that creates an exceptional visual connection to the city – both from inside and out. Through this, we form an icon for the knowledge society, an icon that supports and stimulates creative collaboration.”
Inside, the open layout creates visual connections between various functions, and invites the visitor to be inspired by the vast amount of information that inevitably meets them. Openness encourages social interaction and the exchange of information. Dokk1 will become a vibrant space for people of all generations, interests and cultures. Our concept, with interweaving activities and functions, supports this synergy.”