The Iceberg
Julien Lanoo

The Iceberg

JDS Architects as Architects

01/September/2016 This project provides an enormous opportunity for Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, to redevelop in a socially sustainable way by renovating its old, out-of-use container terminal. The area is meant to become a living city quarter and achieve a proper level of urban density, comprised of a multitude of cultural and social activities, generous amounts of workplaces, and of course, a highly mixed and diverse array of housing types.


The character of the quarter will be reinforced by the facades of the buildings, as their patterns flow down, across and back up again, clearly defining the pedestrian experience into, though, and out of the area.


19-Mar-2013


The Iceberg is located at a prime location on the outmost harbour front in Aarhus’ new quarter Aarhus Ø (Aarhus East) and consists of 208 apartments. Like many other worn-out industrial harbour areas, the former container port of Aarhus is being transformed into a vibrant new neighbourhood. The Iceberg is among the first projects to be finished in an area that on completion will be home to 7,000 inhabitants and provide 12,000 workplaces. Its total site area of 800,000 m2 makes it one of Europe’s largest harbour front city developments.


The inspiration for the Iceberg originated primarily from the site’s extraordinary location with spectacular views over the Aarhus Bay. Thus, the seemingly simple task was to maximize views and sunlight conditions for every single apartment and at the same time respect the in land urban context. Instead of following the masterplan, which was dominated by closed building blocks, the Iceberg is laid out as four L-shaped wings, where the street spaces in between open towards the water. In order to obtain optimal daylight conditions and views over the bay, the building volumes are cut up by jagged lines. The roofs rise and fall into peaks and valleys, which create visual passages across the individual volumes - like floating icebergs that constantly refract one’s gaze. Thus, even the back wing’s residents can enjoy the view.


The principle of dividing each building into tops and valleys contributes to adapt the scale of the buildings to the surroundings and the interior spaces. Instead of being considered as a block turning inwards the complex be experienced as an open structure, creating more architectural appeal. In selected areas the structure of the building is pressed down towards street level to create a harbour oriented character and scale. In other areas the structure is pulled upwards to create a more urban qualities.


City and harbour meet in one common idiom. The varying and spectacular forms that derive from this simple algorithm make it possible to fit a varied range of different dwelling types within the complex – the outer geometry is changed upwards through the building and consequently also in the flats, which range from two storey ‘town houses’ and affordable smaller flats to exclusive penthouses in the peaks. The variety of residences with different balconies, shapes and orientations as well as the combination of owner-occupied and rented flats aim at creating socially diverse urban surroundings that form a lively local community: the building complex becomes a neighbour- hood instead of a mere series of housing blocks.

Isbjerget, Aarhus, Denmark

SeARCH as Architects

Isbjerget (Iceberg) is located on a stunning site on the waterfront of Aarhus. In order to take advantage of the spectacular views across the bay and maximize natural light, the design team reshaped the master plan that consisted of closed blocks, into four L-shaped wings, opening up views between the volumes and to the water. The serrated roof allows daylight deep into the building. To achieve optimal views from the apartments to the sea, the building has been cut in a crisscross manner, taking its inspiration from floating icebergs in continual motion. At 7 or 8 stories and 21,500 m2 Isbjerget houses 155 one or two story apartments of 66m2 to 248 m2 and commercial space on the ground floor. The varied building shapes are used to create a series of apartment types. At ground level a number of 2 story townhouses are integrated into the volume. Penthouse apartments are located within the stunning peaks of the building. A mix of apartments with differing balconies, shapes and orientations ensure an urban living environment with social diversity. Isbjerget was designed in collaboration with JDS, CEBRA and Louis Paillard after winning a limited design competition. The project was awarded the highly prestigious 2013 MIPIM Award for Best Residential Development as well as an Architizer A+ Award.

The Iceberg

CEBRA as Architects

The Iceberg is located at a prime location on the outmost harbour front in Aarhus’ new quarter Aarhus Ø (Aarhus East) and consists of 208 apartments. The Iceberg will contribute to transform the former container port of Aarhus into a vibrant new neighbourhood that on completion will be home to 7,000 inhabitants and provide 12,000 workplaces.


The Iceberg is laid out as four L-shaped wings, where the street spaces in between open towards the water. In order to obtain optimal daylight conditions and views over the bay for as many apartments as possible the building volume is cut up by jagged lines. The roofs rise and fall into peaks and valleys, which create visual passages that allow views across the individual volumes – like floating icebergs that constantly refract one’s gaze. Thus, even the apartments in the back wing can enjoy the view. By applying this simple algorithm to the design the spectacular iceberg structure emerged.


The varying building volumes make it possible to arrange a wide range of different apartment types within the complex – from two-storey ‘town houses’ and affordable smaller apartments to exclusive penthouses in the peaks of The Iceberg. The variety of residences with different balconies, shapes and orientations as well as the combination of owner-occupied and rented flats aim at creating socially diverse urban surroundings that form a lively local community: The building complex becomes a neighbourhood instead of a mere series of housing blocks.


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Products used in this project
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct link
ManufacturersEastmanVanceva® Colors interlayers
Metal Roofing KALZIP 65-50Kalzip
Product Spec Sheet
Metal Roofing KALZIP 65-50
by Kalzip
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