Aarch - Århus School of Architecture

Location Nørreport 20, 8000 Århus Denmark
Building Year 2021
Architect Praksis Arkitekter
Constructor GK Kaysen
Customer Bygningsstyrelsen
Products Used Kerto LVL
Type Schools and Day care centres
End-Use Wall and floor elements

Mediateket in Århus is a fascinating combination of steel, concrete and Kerto LVL

​The Mediateket building of Århus School of Architecture is a hybrid building combining concrete, glass and wood. The 3-storey library inside the building has been constructed using Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber), making the construction fast, light and green.

Mediateket building has an interesting structure: Looking through the glass facade at the New School of Architecture from the outside, you see a 15 meters high wooden library. 

“Wooden intermediate floors and beams can be seen from the outside and it’s standing on its own and holding the massive weight of the old bookshelves and books”, says constructing architect Jakob Lind Rasmussen from the architectural office Praksis.

“The library is like a 3-storey piece of furniture itself, containing more bookshelves.”


Load-bearing structure

Lightweight Kerto® LVL is extremely strong

The wooden parts are not connected to the concrete walls that surround them. There was no need to do that as Kerto LVL is fit for load-bearing structures.

“The S-beams that we used are up to 14 meters long. Kerto LVL holds weight very well,” says Lind Rasmussen. 

Construction manager Peter Blume Jensen agrees with Lind Rasmussen: 

“Kerto is extremely strong and incredibly stable in shape. It’s a great choice for the library.”



Kerto LVL S-beams

​Made-to-measure Kerto LVL S-beams were assembled on site and attached to the concrete floor with screws and bolts. All the joints and beams are load-bearing and thus the materials must be stable.

Connections

​The connections of Kerto LVL S-beams and Q-panels to each other and the floor will be left visible. 

130 cubic meters of Kerto LVL was delivered to the Mediateket construction site ready to be assembled:

“Kerto products were delivered in precise dimensions and we were able to start assembling immediately. As the S-beams and Q-panels were made to measure, they fit into place perfectly,” says Blume Jensen.

“The assembling of all the wooden materials took 210 days, which is really fast.”

Smaller dimensions and lightness of Kerto LVL made it possible to move fast in a tight space without damaging the surrounding glass walls.


  • Aarch connection
  • Aarch from above
  • Aarch lvl

Connections

All the connections are left visible

“The main idea was that when you step inside, you get to see everything. Thus the connections were left visible – we didn’t want to hide anything,” explains Lind Rasmussen.

“We liked working with Kerto, it is an extremely beautiful material to look at.”

The Kerto LVL columns and beams were attached to each other with bolts and with iron threaded rods. Intersecting beams are attached to the main beams with notch joints.

Attaching Kerto LVL columns to the concrete base was done with steel fittings, into which the Kerto LVL beams were attached with bolts. Between the beams and steel fittings there is neoprene rubber as a bearing layer.



  • Aarch connections
  • Aarch corner connection
  • Aarch t-stud
  • Aarch element

Fire-safety

Special sprinklers were added

The mostly wooden library must follow fire regulations carefully. Kerto LVL’s surface is treated to be fire-resistant: it lasts up to 60 minutes without combusting.

“The elements didn’t have to be painted or anything like that. And of course, we use sprinklers,” says Lind Rasmussen. 

The sprinklers have extra high pressure.

“A new type of sprinkler was specially developed to cope with the specific fire safety requirements”, says Jensen.



The final building

Wooden elements leave room for experiments

The Mediateket library was finalized in early 2021. The building can be altered in the future as well.

“Building with elements enables several possibilities. You could take some elements out or build more on top of it, if you want to add something,” says architect Martin Thorbøl Møller from Praksis.

“And Kerto elements can be reused in 50–100 years, if you want to use them somewhere else,” adds Lind Rasmussen.



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