The Danish studio AART and the local-based, non-profit organization Givisme have taken an unusual approach to a desolated industrial area at the edge of Aarhus city centre (Denmark). With the ambition of injecting renewed life into the area, they have exposed the old railways and designed pop-up train carriages, which will provide the setting for a wide array of activities for the remainder of 2017, ranging from a single-room hotel, to a public greenhouse and boutiques for lifestyle brands and even polling booths for the upcoming local elections – all with a focus on showing how temporary architecture can provide new perspectives on a community-based and citizen-involving urban development.
A creative grip on urban development Like any other city, Aarhus is affected by increasing urbanization. The city is growing intensively, which is also giving rise to an increasing transformation of former industrial areas into residential areas. This kind of urban transformation is an integral part of the daily life in the city. However, the timespan between the political decisions and the completed transformations are often long – so, why not use this timespan productively and make the best of the areas while they are being transformed?
Working with Givisme, AART has set out to do exactly this. Together they have taken a creative grip on one industrial area that is planned to be transformed into a residential area, but in the intervening period feels desolated. By exposing the old railways in the area and by designing a wide range of pop-up train carriages, they have shown how temporary architecture can inject renewed life into a desolate area to engage citizens and give the city a creative spark.
Community-making architecture AART and Givisme came up with the design for the train carriages, but citizens from across the city helped them build them. Citizens from different age groups and background worked together, adding a community-making aspect to the building process. Many pop-up train carriages have already been built, including a single-room hotel, a public greenhouse, as urban furniture, etc. During the musical festival Northside, which was held nearby, the train carriages also included a bar and pharmacy serving the festivalgoers.
Over the coming months, more train carriages will pop-up. It is the ambition that they will include various kinds of urban facilities, among these boutiques from leading lifestyle brands that see a unique opportunity to display their products in a creative urban setting in a fast-growing city with a distinct Scandinavian touch – and indeed, one with the title of European Capital of Culture 2017. So, this is also an invitation to international lifestyle brands that have the courage and creative mindset to be part of this kind of urban architecture event.