Aalborg East (Aalborg Øst)
2012 - 2030

A land­scape in be­tween

Pulling the city closer together

Aalborg East is one of the most dynamic suburbs of the city of Aalborg. It is currently undergoing a positive development with huge investments, including a new university hospital, a light rail and expansions of the university and the local industrial harbour. The area was designed on functionalist principles in the 1960s, which makes for a highly efficient traffic infrastructure. Unfortunately, this was achieved at the cost of the local residents, who are sharply divided, in both physical and social terms.

Together with Aalborg Municipality, the development fund Realdania held a competition for a strategic plan for Aalborg East to enhance the area with high-density architecture and a new meeting place that would bring the isolated residential developments closer together. Vandkunsten won the competition with the comprehensive proposal ‘A landscape in between’.

‘A landscape in between’ forms the shared foundation and inspiration for future collaborative projects to drive the transformation of Aalborg East. In practice, the proposal represents an extensive strategic analysis of the area’s challenges and the potentials of a systematic utilization of the landscape and the existing building types. Vandkunsten continues to be involved in the district, engaging in both strategic tasks and physical construction projects.


‘Our proposal for Aalborg Municipality and Realdania does not pride itself on an iconic character – it’s not a Nike logo – but that is, in fact, its strength. We read the place and took a humble view of the area, the residents, the municipality and the investors who will be driving this transformation. Our own strength lies in our understanding of the suburb, everyday life , safe streets etc. This resulted in a multi-layered solution that is open and receptive rather than an dictating a complete transformation.’

– Morten Kjer Jeppesen, Arkitekt MAA

A mega-project in northern Jutland

Rethinking residential areas, climate-proofing the Limfjord coastal areas, establishing a new light rail and developing the industrial zone. The transformation process in Aalborg East covers a wide span in every sense of the word and needs to rest on a sound and holistic vision. Our work included a strategic plan, a structural plan, a local plan, user involvement, programming, and designing a tunnel.



General plan and a super-path for bicycles

In many regards, the Astrup Path forms the main artery in our attempt to tie the area together. The future course of the path extends all the way from Øster Uttrup to the north, through Aalborg East and on to the university to the south. In our general plan, we have identified a number of physical elements to be enhanced or added along the path in order to promote the desired development and future investments.

Kick-start project: tunnel connects the neighborhoods

The first tangible kick-start project includes upgrading the tunnel for cyclists and pedestrians that runs under Humlebakken and the adjacent urban spaces. The goal is to create a hinge along the Astrup Path, which ties central Tornhøj together across Humlebakken. We were assigned to design the tunnel and it is finished in 2018.

The landscape ties everything together

The landscape is the most important ressource for identity and development of Aalborg East and we have developed 8 principles for a sustainable development of the area. Hence we renamed the title of the competition from ‘City in Between’ to ‘Landscape in between’.

New connections

The Astrup-connection is a key element in creating coherency between the campus in the south and the residential area in the north. The Astrup-connection is intended to become the new backbone of the area. We have been commissioned to realize this part of the masterplan.

Basic principles rather than micro-management

The initial realization projects are important in defining the future development of Aalborg East. They are complex transformation projects that involve a wide range of landowners and stakeholders. Hence, it would not make sense for us to attempt to define a detailed master plan. Instead, our goal is to initiate a positive development and enable the many special interests to see the merits of a general improvement. And to bring the landowners and stakeholders together in shared support of a series of basic principles to guide development in the years to come, across interests and varying conditions.

Above is a plan of the Tornhøjgaar Center

Project facts


Project name: Aalborg East (Aalborg Øst)


Client: City of Aalborg and the development fund Realdania

Location: Aalborg

Gross area: 35.000

Date: 2012 - 2030

Status: Under development


Program: Masterplan and subsequent assignments

Activity: Masterplan, user involvement, subsequent project management

Job type: 1. prize in competition

Contact: Pernille Schyum Poulsen, psp@vandkunst.dk

Project group: Jan Albrechtsen, Morten Kjer Jeppesen, Kirstine Fagerlund Hvidegaard, Maria Ramild Crammond, Thomas Nybo Rasmussen


Architect: Vandkunsten

Landscape: Vandkunsten

Engineer: DEM & Esbensen, SlothMøller, Tyréns