Aarhus Student Housing is a collaborative project between TERROIR (led by UTS Practice Professor Gerard Reinmuth) and CUBO Arkitekter and was the result of a design competition run in early 2011. The project required 50 low-cost housing units to be arranged on a difficult site on the old North Harbour at Aarhus, previously used for container traffic. The design evolved around a ‘third spaces’ strategy – a method for mediating between the individual student apartments, collective spaces and the expanse of the industrial concrete apron. This strategy to provide “third spaces” led to a series of deliberately unprogrammed areas that sat adjacent to or within other areas and which expoanded the sense of how the building and site could be used:
1. A series of steps at ground level, adjacent to the entry and community room;
2. A mid-level terrace receiving midday sun and adjacent to a central void connecting all circulation to and from rooms;
3. A roof level terrace, which receives afternoon sun and has views to the adjacent forest.
This work is significant in its execution of a spatial strategy that links the supply of enclosed residential units, the spaces between and around the units and the urban context beyond the building itself. The project stands as a claim for the potential of spatial organisation to encourage specific forms of community building and engagement. The successful realisation of this proposition was recognised in the Aarhus City Architecture Award for best building in the city for 2013.