The Aarhus Architecture Lab

Vargo Nielsen Palle

The Aarhus Architecture Laboratory is a concept for the new school of architecture of Aarhus, Denmark that was selected as a winner in the open New Aarch competition. We imagine a school of architecture as an open process rather than a defined typology – one that invites its own evolution by opening where we draw the border of where architecture begins and ends.


When given the right tools and opportunity, we engage our surroundings. Godsbanearealerne already prove this by inviting the local community to turn a former industrial railyard into a cultural campus. It has become home to cultural gatherings, informal experiments, and artistic sculptures, all anchored by Godsbanen and the Institute for (X). While these anchors provide the tools the public needs, the chemistry of the creative community actively participating in the area gives it true life.

This creative chemistry is the perfect inspiration of how an institute can engage through architecture. Rather than be defined by a singular architectural doctrine, the school should be an open framework for experimentation as Godsbanearealerne already is. It should not just be an architecture school – It should be an open laboratory for the evolution of architecture. It should share its program with the public and allow for informal interactions. It should simply empower students with tools and an open laboratory so that they can learn by creating.

To do that, the Aarhus School of Architecture will be an open framework for experimentation. It will evolve from the simple, industrial architecture of its surroundings to provide the ideal creative space for both public and private use. It will be a true laboratory for architecture, letting students and the local community create their own chemistry by letting them interact.

Vargo Nielsen Palle

Brian Vargo has a dual background in architecture and real estate finance. His work focuses on the link between design and economy, studying how both can inform the other to spark innovative strategies for practice. He holds a Master of Design Studies with a concentration in Real Estate Finance from Harvard University and Bachelor of Architecture from Cal Poly University of San Luis Obispo.

Jonas Snedevind Nielsen has a background in architecture and engineering with focus upon phenomenology, multidisciplinary work, and collaboration. In his projects, he seeks to reveal architectural potentials by questioning it from multiple aspects, exploring new possibilities, interactions, and correlation. Jonas holds a MSc.Eng. Architecture from the School of Architecture, Design and Planning of Aalborg University.

Mathias Palle has a background in both architecture and engineering with a focus on where pragmatic and design worlds can meet. He has a broad knowledge of engineering and technical skills, where integrated design and teamwork have been central in developing successful projects. Mathias holds a MSc.Eng. Architecture from the School of Architecture, Design and Planning of Aalborg University.