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Aarhus International Sailing Centre close to becoming a reality

by Dan Ibsen, Sail-World Europe on 1 Mar 2014
Aarhus Internationale Sejlsportcenter - Aarhus International Sailing Centre is close to becoming a reality Dan Ibsen
Establishing an International Sailing Center in Aarhus, Denmark is getting closer to become a reality. The winner of the architectural design competition for the Aarhus International Sailing Centre has been announced.

There has been a vision for Aarhus International Sailing Centre since 2008, when Sailing Aarhus hosted ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships at the Bay of Aarhus.

Since then Sailing Aarhus, an event organization established by 5 major clubs in Aarhus, has been organizing many international championships every year, among those the 49er & 49erFX European Championships 2013, 29er World Championship 2013, A-Cat World Championship 2011, 505 World Championship 2010 and several European Championships through the years.

Aarhus has a strong tradition in sailing, and several Danish Olympic medal winners has grown up as sailors at the Bay of Aarhus, among those the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists in 49er, Jonas Warrer and Martin Kirketerp.

The vision was first formulated by Sailing Aarhus and included in Aarhus Municipality’s 4-year Sport and Leisure Policy in 2009 and again in 2012. The City of Aarhus has allocated a spectacular plot of land right at the entrance to the Aarhus Yachting Harbour.

The Aarhus International Sailing Centre will accommodate a wide range of sailing activities, from international sailing events, primary school and youth sailing projects to Olympic national team activities.

The vision is to promote sailing, and raise awareness of and participation in sailing at a significantly higher degree than is the case today.

Besides the City of Aarhus, the project is supported – among others - by the Danish Sailing Association, Team Denmark, the National Olympic Committee, Sailing Aarhus, the University of Aarhus and the Sports Academy Aarhus.

In March 2012, the Aarhus International Sailing Centre Foundation received a donation from the AP Møller and Chastine McKinney Møller Foundation to hold an architectural design competition.

The architectural design competition was launched in May 2013 by the Aarhus International Sailing Centre Foundation and 31 international architect teams applied for prequalification to participate. There were five competent and experienced teams in the competition. They each came up with a design for the international sailing center, which will be situated in the new city quarter Aarhus Ø.

The architectural design competition was won by the Copenhagen-based company Entasis Architects A/S. The winner was chosen by a unanimous jury.

A major premise of the competition was that the new sailing centre had to be a significant architectural landmark as well as a solid structure, as it would be located at a very unique and very exposed location right at the entrance to Aarhus Yachting Harbour.

The Aarhus International Sailing Centre Foundation wants a functional and active building, able to withstand the sometimes very harsh weather conditions connected to be only few meters from the sea. It needs to be an architecturally significant building with a good correlation between the indoor and outdoor areas and it should be a transparent structure that invites spectators and visitors to follow the sporting activities that take place both inside the building and outside on the Bay of Aarhus.

The building has to satisfy the flexibility and multi-functionality required for sailing's diverse activities, and a range of users from eight-year-old primary school students to the Olympic national teams. At the same time, it has to be a building with a special focus on low operating costs and cost-effective construction.

Each of the bidding teams met the challenge in very different ways and all the bids were of a very high standard. After a thorough review of the proposals, the jury felt that one of the proposals in particular met all the competition requirements.

The winning proposal is for a building that is robust, flexible and can be 'left outside' in the sometimes rough weather conditions. It represents timelessness and has a strong architectural identity.

The jury considered that the proposal had significant architectural merit and integrity, solving the requirements in both a casually and spatially interesting way. The building has a clear message and its ambition to become a beacon for Danish sailing seems convincing and credible.

The goal is that young sailors, talents, Danish top level teams as well as international sailors will be able to move in to the Aarhus International Sailing Center by mid 2016. All major international events will also be hosted at the sailing center, very close to the Aarhus City Center, hotels, shops and more...





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