outside blixens
Blixens in Gellerup has just won the award for The Building of the Year in the category, Industry. Photo: Arkitema Architects/Niels Nygaard

Blixens is The Building of the Year 2019 in Denmark

The new office building in the western part of Aarhus has just won the award for The Building of the Year 2019 in the category, Industry. The building is the first step towards a comprehensive transformation of the district. NIRAS has delivered all engineering disciplines and is very proud of the new title.

30. Dec 2019

In 2015, Aarhus Municipality declared a public-private partnership (PPP) contest, which was won by a team consisting of Arkitema, A. Enggaard, NIRAS, Caverion, and Hauxner. From the very beginning, the municipality wanted a building that could be accessible to new as well as old residents in Gellerup with inclusion as a central theme. Blixens therefore became a publicly accessible building with a large urban area, where the administrative office spaces are integrated with public functions. The building is thus an icon both architecturally and as a symbol of social sustainability.

Blixens has become much more than just offices for the employees in the municipality. The 23.000 m2 encompass not only approximately 950 municipal workplaces, but also a police station, recreative areas, and entrepreneurial environment, the tallest wall plant in Denmark, rental spaces, a café, restaurant, auditorium, workshops, and a coffee roaster.

A view of the city

The building is characterised by a beautiful, interesting and original architecture. Most noticeable is the top box that with its significant cantilever towards the corner of Blixens’ Boulevard and Edwin Rahr’s Road welcomes you to Gellerup and Aarhus. From the main entrance, visitors can take an express escalator 24 m above ground. From here you can enjoy a view of the new Gellerup and all the way over Aarhus bay. The rooftop view is an experience in and of itself, and it gives a deeper understanding of Gellerup’s connection to the rest of the city and Gellerup’s development.

Blixens’ impact on Gellerup is one of the things that the jury especially noticed when they made their decision about The Building of the Year. This is what the jury said:

“Placing a multi-cultural industrial building and a significant amount of public work places in a ghetto area, is something we believe will improve Gellerup immensely. We furthermore believe that it will have a positive impact on the municipal employees by bringing them closer to the the citizens.  It is a characteristic building and an ambitious example of how you can create good office spaces with open doors to the rest of the community.”

The award, The Building of the Year, has been declared since 1997 and the jury committee consists of top executives from the most important organisations in the building industry such as the Danish Association of Architectural Firms, Dansk Industri, The Danish Building and Property Agency, and Dansk Byggeri.