“Harbour Magnets” is an ambitious architecture project and festival, that took place in Aarhus (DK) from August to September 2017. LIST was both the artistic director of the festival and one of the three participating architects.
LIST developed the concept of « Harbour Magnets » uniting a constellation of full-scale installations in Aarhus’ Harbour with a central exhibition, a series of roundtables and open-air cinema screenings. The 1:1 installations spread around the harbour, reveal specific environments and invite the public on a journey through disconnected parts of the city. Harbour Magnets feature the work of three international architecture offices: LIST, Hideyuki Nakayama Architecture and Matilde Cassani.
Bridges as territorial magnets
LIST named the 2017 1:1 Architecture festival, “Harbour Magnets” in response to Aarhus Festival’s general theme which is “Bridging”. Bridges are connections betweens banks. However, LIST chose to focus on the territorial dimension of bridges and the visual relations that they establish with their surroundings rather the physical connection as such. The project considers bridges as territorial magnets, that underline the city’s specific geographic position, in the bay of Aarhus at the mouth of the River Åen.
Aarhus is Denmark’s main industrial port. However, there is a historical lack of connectivity between the city and its waterfront. The harbour area is relatively inaccessible in the minds of Aarhus’ inhabitants. Although part of the harbour is transforming rapidly, the port remains a particular site in Aarhus, partly in activity, partly vacant and in some parts completely transformed. Today, a few years before it changes into a friendly urban environment, seems to be the best moment to unveil the harbour’s poetic beauty. The festival is an opportunity to take a step backwards and use the 1:1 installations to question the relation between the city, its harbour and the nearby landscape.
The 1:1 “Harbour Magnets” are meant as bridges between Aarhus and its harbour and between land and sea. They dialog with the natural roughness and austerity of the port. They are circumscribed public spaces that simply offer moments of contemplation and solitude. They are not consumption spots, nor confiscated places. The installations use and interact with the harbour’s paraphernalia. Their ambition is to offer public amenity and capture public movement. They are not ends in themselves but elements encouraging the continual necessity for change. The three Magnets designed by LIST (Magnets 2, 5 and 7)use scaffolding elements for structure and materials that can be found in the harbour (steel, netting, concrete…). Each of them offer different sizes and kinds of suspended seating from which the public can observe the surrounding landscape.
Sites: constellation and interrelations
The Harbour Magnets aim to reveal the specific qualities of each site in the Northern Harbour and the different stages of its ongoing transformation. The sites are chosen according to views, distances, scales, interrelations between piers and links between the city and harbour. Together the 1:1 Magnets form a constellation based on subtle interrelations and act as landmarks throughout the territory. They question short and longterm development of these areas and try to underline qualities that should be preserved in the future.