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That remarkable tower: marking time in Aarhus

by Nicky Gardner

Picture above: Aarhus town hall (photo © hidden europe).


What is a grand town hall without a clock tower? The good citizens of the Danish city of Aarhus evidently felt that their new town hall would look a little naked without a tower. Architects Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller duly obliged.

Stepping out of the main railway station in Denmark’s second city, there is an immediate sense of a city which takes itself seriously. Aarhus cuts a dash in artistic and cultural circles and deserves a visit for its bold modern architecture. There are many things to love about Aarhus. In the Dokk1 complex by the harbour with its magnificent new public library, for example, there’s the world’s largest tubular bell which rings each time a baby is born in the city’s hospital.

Close to the railway station is a remarkable building which attests to Aarhus’ long-standing commitment to the avant-garde. In 1937, the city ran an architectural competition for designs for a new town hall. The winners were Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller.

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