Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter’s design for Katrinetorvet, an 18-story, mixed-use building overlooking Aarhus’ Katrine Square proposes a striking architectural complex within a vibrant urban center.
The harmonious high-rise, ascending gracefully from the square, encompasses a 6-story brick base that houses commercial establishments, including a charming café on the square level, and 12 residential floors above it. At ground level, the base boasts an imposing two-story arcade characterized by robust brick columns, buttresses, and pointed arches.
These architectural elements draw inspiration from the gable motif adorning the high-rise structure, which, in turn, pays homage to the nearby “Book Tower” at Aarhus University Campus, aligning with a directive to “greet the Book Tower.”
The arcade, crowned with a tiled ceiling, serves as a sheltered pedestrian promenade along the perimeter of the building, and provides the opportunity for al fresco dining adjacent to the café, with scenic views of the square.
The 6-storey base features a distinctive pattern of brickwork and windows that echoes the pointed-arch motif found in the arcade, and the structure’s iconic gable – both of which harken back to the architectural heritage of Aarhus University Campus main buildings in the University Park.
In its gestures and purpose, it embodies a classic Danish square building, another reference to the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood. The high-rise portion of the complex features 12 floors of residential units, each offering panoramic vistas in all four cardinal directions, and semi-recessed balconies in the same brick material as the rest of the building.
Atop the high-rise, a communal rooftop terrace features lush greenery, a range of seating arrangements, and open spaces for resident use. This carefully selected palette of soft-polished bricks includes a delicate blend of red and golden hues; a uniform mortar-joint style creates a sense of cohesion and texture.
Throughout the building, traditional brick-detailing elements are incorporated into the modern design as a nod to Denmark’s rich heritage of brickwork.
These details include brick lintels in the arcade, brick buttresses accentuating openings, brickwork used as ornamental features, brickwork with open apertures, and the use of brick vaulting within the arcade. The balconies of the residential units also feature brick cladding, adding to the overall charm and character of the development.
Beyond its aesthetic contribution to the area, Katrinetorvet Tower is also distinguished by its position overlooking the square, its height, and its profile – establishing a central gathering point, or social hub, for the neighborhood.
Despite the fact that it is primarily residential, it opens itself toward the public life of the city through its arcade, an urban gesture which provides space for cafes and restaurants, as well as offices and residences on the periphery.
Its engagement with the numerous university buildings and research institutions in the surrounding streets will establish a harmonious academic rambla running the length of the district – “Campusstrøget” – which connects the Book Tower and the Katrinetorvet Tower and culminates in the high-rise building’s distinctive profile as a landmark. Source by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter.
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Architect: Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter
Client: Ejendomsselskabet Olav de Linde
Program: Commercial and residential
Size: 12.500 m2
Images: Courtesy of Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter