Dokk1 or Dokken is a building, public library and culture center in Aarhus, Jutland (Denmark). Situated on Hack Kampmanns Plads in the city center by the waterfront, Dokk1 is part of the development project ‘Urban Mediaspace Aarhus’, jointly financed by Aarhus Municipality and Realdania for 2.1 billion DKK, and designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and Kristine Jensen, with construction managed by NCC AB. The building was inaugurated on 20 June 2015 and the name (a reference to the location on the former industrial harbor by the waterfront) was determined by a public contest: DOKK1 can be pronounced as “Dokken”, “Dok-Ét” or “Dok-Een”, meaning The Dock or Dock One in English. The building (60,000 m2 of floorspace) houses the Aarhus Main Library (the largest in Scandinavia), the municipal public services department, theater scenes, businesses, a large automated underground parking facility, and will be integrated with the light rail system. From an Architectural point of view, the neo-futuristic Dokk1 project combines different cultural purposes under one roof, along with commercial or business functions. Other examples of the same trend from Denmark comprise ‘Nordvests Culture House’, ‘Ørestad’s School’ and ‘Kulturværftet’ in Helsingør. Dokk1 has been built and designed with a clear focus on low energy consumption and sustainability, both in the construction phase and in the long-term operational phase: it meets the Danish class 2015 low energy requirements, and sustainability is among the core values for Dokk1. Accessibility has also been given a high priority at Dokk1, and it has been achieved by using special designs, furnishings and technology. As for art and decoration, above the central staircase in the library hangs a large bronze pipe bell designed by Kirstine Roepstorff, whereas outside, below the central staircase (in the ceiling of the underground carpark) is a model of an imaginary city turned upside down, known as ‘Magic Mushrooms’, invented by the Berlin-based art-cooperative ‘Elmgreen & Dragset’. A four section outside playground known as Kloden (The Globe) and developed by Monstrum adorns the broad encircling concrete deck: each section represents various cultures and regions of the world. In the south there is a jungle, a large ape and drawings reminiscent of Egypthian hieroglyphs; all representing the African continent. In the East is an Asian dragon and a six-metre-tall Russian bear, representing Eastern Europe. White wooden platforms fastened on heavy springs imitate floating sheets of ice from the Arctic in the northern section, and a large wooden eagle at an erupting vulcano represents Iceland and the American continent in the west. The way citizens and organisations participate in the design processes of the library and the cultural center are an innovative cornerstone behind the development of Dokk1: a general design tool kit developed in 2013-14 for this purpose was financially supported by the ‘Global Libraries’ program, a branch of the ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’. In 2016, Dokk1 was named ‘Public Library of the Year’ by the ‘International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’.
Dokk1 is part of an effort to re-purpose former industrial areas of the Port of Aarhus into residential and commercial areas: while the north harbor is being developed into the predominantly residential Aarhus Ø neighborhood, the central stretch of waterfront is developed into public and recreational spaces currently referred to as ‘De Bynære Havnearealer’ (The Peri-urban Harbour-areas) under the project “Urban Mediaspace Aarhus”, or simply “Urban Mediaspace”. Apart from the Dokk1 building, the Urban Mediaspace project covers the opening of the Aarhus River, renovation of Europa Plads square, climate change adaptations (including an underground rainwater retention reservoir), and construction of the new public squares of Hack Kampmanns Plads and Havnepladsen.
Read more: DOKK1 official website