Respect for every brick
From 1893 to 2018, the centrally located Aarhus Municipal Hospital complex served the community’s medical needs. With such historic and social significance, some of these buildings were designated ‘worthy of preservation’ in Denmark. Meaning, some of the original exterior facades must be remain unchanged.
Some assume preservation requirements make revitalisation more difficult, yet in this case, the preservation designation coincidentally enhances the transformation vision. Now, a coherent architectural and functional campus aesthetic is anchored in the iconic yellow and red brick facades already existing at both the university and the municipal hospital.
By respecting and celebrating preservation-worthy features, we enhance the site’s original qualities while bolstering its functionality to serve the community for the next 125 years or so.
Review all strategies, risks, and opportunities
Before transforming an old hospital into a 110,000 square metre university city district, a meticulous development plan is imperative. The plan considers where and how the district’s facilities interact with other local urban and commercial environments.
"A transformation project of this size and complexity requires significant multidisciplinary knowledge and experience. We involved more than 30 technical departments to meet the client’s project goals,” says Lars Peder Pedersen, Project Director at Ramboll
Ramboll’s initial task was to assess and assist in designing strategies and subprojects to realise the overall project vision. Then, we managed and coordinated those subprojects. While managing overall construction, our responsibility focused on practical coordination, working conditions, fire safety, and cross-project finances.
Since all technical infrastructure below ground and between the preserved buildings required renewal, the project offered a high degree of building material reuse opportunities. Over 80,000 square metres of construction was recycled to use in the new campus complex.
Renew your trickiest real estate portfolio assets
You may assume older buildings cannot be as sustainable as new builds, yet, with sustainability as a guiding project principle, the new university city has already achieved a DGNB Gold pre-certification as a sustainable urban area. The certification measures cohesion from everything that lies between the buildings, to microclimates, life cycles, biodiversity, climate adaptation, and citizen engagement. This required setting concrete sustainability goals related to carbon emissions, resource waste, and biodiversity.
“Managing the DGNB Gold district certification requires significant attention to detail to ensure all urban spaces and subprojects meet certification requirements," says Pedersen.
The new Aarhus University district interweaves existing local commercial, residential, and environmental offerings with new commercial, residential, and environmental offerings. Specifically, the physical surroundings must reflect the university's vision of a learning environment. This means promoting flexible forms research and teaching, as well as collaboration with the business community.

New campus district in numbers

  • : DNGB
    DNGB Gold District Certification
  • : 80,000
    80,000 m2 of construction materials recycled and used for the new campus complex
  • : 130
    130 Ramboll consultants connected to the project since 2017