Regina

From former hotel, cinema and shopping arcade to vibrant shopping and residential property in the heart of Aarhus

After an extensive transformation the Regina building in Aarhus is today re-established as a vibrant building comprising shops, offices, a fitness centre, a café and homes for 100 people centrally in the city.

Sited prominently on the famous pedestrian shopping street in Aarhus and not far from the city hall, the main railway station and the cathedral, the Regina building is surrounded by a lively urban scene. It doesn’t get more central.

The transformation of the Regina building is an example of how to renovate a historical and listed building in the city centre, incorporating new functions to revitalise the building itself and inject new life into the heart of the city.

The Regina building was originally built as a hotel and cinema, but since the 1980s it has been home to both offices and a shopping arcade, however with many of the shops standing empty and unused for long periods of time. In 2016, a radical transformation of the Regina building was initiated with a vision of revitalising the arcade and the shops, while at the same time converting many of the offices into flats with attractive outdoor areas.

Attractive flats with green urban spaces
One of the main ideas of the project was to convert most of the offices in the building into spacious two and three-room flats, 38 flats in all, which are now home to about 100 residents.  In designing the flats, the focus has been on making the most of the natural light and on retaining the building’s inherent qualities and fine details, such as the original window sections and ceiling beams.

The biggest change has taken place behind the building, where the backyard has been completely transformed in terms of both its functions and character. The design of the backyard, which used to be devoid of recreational facilities, is a perfect example of how an unused urban space can be upgraded to include brand new functions which add immense recreational value. Today, an attractive inner courtyard environment has been created, which adds real value for the residents with various zones for relaxation as well as activities. For example, a delightful green oasis has been created, where the residents can meet up, come together, relax, play with their children and grow flowers and plants in the many raised beds.

The roof of the old cinema and the dome have been covered with green and climate-friendly climate roofs which, in addition to their obvious aesthetic qualities, integrate rainwater management, thereby relieving the sewer systems during downpours. Moreover, the green roofs support biodiversity in the city as habitats for insects, butterflies etc.

Category
Transformation and Renovation
Location
Aarhus | Denmark
Developer
Capital Investment
Status
Realised, 2018
Size
10.000 sqm
Collaborators
CJ Group | Tri-Consult

A transformation based on Høeg-Hansen’s architectural ideas
The design of the newly established round terrace is perfectly aligned with the original design idiom of the Regina building, which is characterised by numerous round, organic shapes, for example the dome, the concave corner and the rounded entrances. In addition, the newly established private balconies, railings and staircases have been designed in accordance with the building’s original architecture and idiom.

Following respectful renovation, the facades of the Regina building have retained their original form, including the original facade sections, entrances and windows on the upper floors. In several places, details have been restored to their original shape following close scrutiny of Høeg-Hansen’s drawings, the aim being to preserve and strengthen the architectural cultural heritage of the site. For example, round, elegant glass lamps have again been installed on the facade to frame the main entrance, while the large shop windows have been returned to their original size. Today, the building appears considerably more open and welcoming than in the past, which very much supports its consumer-oriented function.

Following the transformation, the Regina building has come alive both during the day and in the evening – in stark contrast to the formerly quite deserted feel of the place once the shops closed. The combination of flats, offices, shops and a fitness centre has created an overlap of functions which attract a steady stream of people who live and visit, shop, exercise and work in the building – very much injecting new life into the city centre. Today, Regina is once again a place where people stop and meet.