Initial design plans for AGF Aarhus venue


Aarhus stadium competition announced Image: Rich Maciver (SoccerBible)

The City of Aarhus (Denmark) has selected six teams of architects and studios to submit final proposals for a new football stadium in the Danish City.

The ‘Skyscraper City’ stated that a design competition was launched in November 2021 with the stadium to cost approximately DKK114m (£13m/€15m/$17m) and have a capacity of between 20,000 and 25,000, serving as the new home of the local Danish Superliga team AGF.

Aarhus Gymnastikforening, commonly known as AGF, is a professional sports club based in Aarhus, Jutland, Denmark. Founded in 1880, it is one of the oldest clubs in the country and gymnastics and fencing are featured as its main sports. However, AGF is mostly known for its football department, which was established in 1902. Currently, the club’s first team plays in the Danish Superliga, the top flight of the Danish football league system.

Aarhus Stadium is an association football stadium in Aarhus, Denmark which has been the home ground of Aarhus Gymnastikforening since the 1920s. With a current capacity of 19,433, it is the third largest football stadium of any football team in Denmark. It is part of the sports complex, known as the Aarhus Sports Park, which is run by the Ceres Park & Arena.

The ‘Skyscraper City’ further stated that the stadium will open in 2026 and will be located within the existing Aarhus Sports Park close to Aarhus Bay and the Marselisborg Woods.

The stadium will form part of the wider ‘Vision Kongelunden’ regeneration program, which aims to redevelop the Aarhus Sports Park as a new sustainable recreational zone for the locals.

The project attracted interest from 42 parties, with the City of Aarhus having now finalized a shortlist of six candidates. These include the team of Denmark’s COBE and AFL Architects from the United Kingdom, while Team Two comprises Denmark’s Dissing+Weitling, MASU Planning and MOONN, together with Kengo Kuma of Japan.

Team Three features the Danish pair of Dorte Mandrup and Kristine Jensen, while Herzog & de Meuron World and Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten AG, both of Switzerland, make up Team Four.

ARKITEMA and LYTT Architecture of Denmark teamed up with France’s SCAU to form Team Five, while the sixth team comprises Sweco Danmark and TREDJE NATUR of Denmark, along with Zaha Hadid of the UK.

The six teams must submit their final proposals by the Spring of 2022, after which the City of Aarhus will carry out an assessment before announcing a winner next Autumn.

Design contest

The ‘Architects’ Journal’ stated that as per the brief, ‘The primary task in the design contest was to deliver a visionary proposal for a new football stadium and to show how the stadium interacts with its surroundings and the neighboring facilities in the surrounding area and to show how the vision of a beautiful and groundbreaking stadium for the benefit and pleasure of the many may be accomplished.’

The brief added, ‘The focus of the design contest is the composition of the football stadium with a connection to the location and the existing and surrounding stadium buildings worthy of preservation. In continuation of the design contest, it is expected that a negotiated tender procedure without publication will be conducted with the winner or winners of the design contest with the object of entering into a full-service consultancy agreement.’

Located around 187 kilometers Northwest of Copenhagen, Aarhus is the second largest City in Denmark with a population of around 282,000. Local landmarks include the new Harbour Bath by the Bjarke Ingels Group.

The latest competition comes three years after the Copenhagen firm Vargo, Nielsen & Palle won an international competition for a new £20 million home for the Aarhus School of Architecture.

The ‘Architects’ Journal’ further stated that the Aarhus Stadium was constructed in the 1920s and is the third largest sports venue in Denmark with space for around 19,433 spectators. The combined football and athletics arena was upgraded in the 1990s and 2000s but suffers from significant viewing distances between the stands and the pitch.

The latest project will deliver a new ‘modern and intimate’ football stadium designed to deliver ‘benefit and joy of the many in general as well as the home field for the Danish Superliga football club AGF’.

Key aims include delivering a venue of ‘high architectural quality’ and ‘professional international standing’ which reflects the area’s rich cultural history and landscape while also delivering a ‘very intense stadium experience in connection with football’.

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