The new Port Centre unites many of the central functions at the Port of Aarhus in a central building complex, which is designed to form an extremely flexible facility. The five-storey building, with a total area of 13,000 m², includes port administration offices, workshops and warehousing, a customer reception centre, security management, canteen and staff welfare facilities as well as a public cafeteria. There are also commercial units for lease to port-related businesses, which create a cluster of activities sharing a variety of functions. Users are a highly diverse group, including Port of Aarhus staff, tradesmen, dock workers, truck drivers and visitors. Inspired by the desire to achieve an optimal long-term flexibility and adaptability, the concept of the centre resembles an ice crystal. The initial complex around a central triangular atrium will be an entity in itself, but it will be possible subsequently to add more wings which all connect to the same focal point.
The triangular atrium is gradually stepped back on the upper floors, thus providing large shared spaces for canteen and conference rooms at the ground and 1st floor levels, while leaving more regular day-lit office spaces on the upper floors. The material palette is kept simple, with the partially exposed pre-fab concrete structure balanced with stained oak industrial parquet flooring (made from by-products of wood-floor production), and industrial detailing such as the bright orange steel-grille stairs. From every floor there is access to roof terraces and balconies, and deep eaves underlining the horizontal structure of the centre protect and shade the glazed facades as part of the energy-conservation strategy. The complex is designed to be a low-energy class I facility, by reducing heating and cooling loads as well as electricity consumption, and using extensive life-cycle analysis of building materials and components to reduce impact during the life-time operations of the building. The main idea has been to have the quality of design benefit literally everyone in the centre, from the office environment of white-collar staff, to the brightly day-lit technical maintenance workshop spaces, and right through to the changing and bathing facilities for dockworkers. The atrium doubles as an auditorium for visitor groups, ranging from schoolchildren to foreign ambassadors. The centre is located adjacent to the key operative areas of the port, such as the container terminal and Omniterminal. The location has spectacular views and and the centre opens up in all directions. In extension to the centre, an ISPS gate facility and a truck stop will also be built.