London-based company faces competing offers from Danish company Dorte Mandrup, SCAU from Paris, Cobe from Copenhagen working with AFL Manchester, Kengo Kuma from Tokyo and Herzog & de Meuron from Basel.
The shortlist comes nearly a year after ZHA received approval to build the world’s first all-wood football stadium for Gloucestershire Forest Green Rovers football club. In 2015, finalist Kengo Kuma replaced ZHA as the designer of the Tokyo Olympic Stadium after launching a second competition for the project.
The competition – launched by the Municipality of Aarhus in November – will select a senior consultant to deliver a new £ 114million (DKK 1 billion) waterfront home for the local football club AGF, which is being built as part of the city’s ambitious project Vision Kongelunden regeneration program.
The project, scheduled for completion in 2026, will create a ‘beautiful and revolutionary’ arena on a major site housing the city’s existing sports stadium in Aarhus Sports Park, close to Aarhus Bay and from the woods of Marselisborg.
Aarhus Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard said: “I am proud and excited about the huge interest in our project around the world. In Aarhus we have great ambitions to create a beautiful and revolutionary new football stadium. .
“It has been an almost impossible task to narrow the field down to six teams, and I want to thank the 42 teams for their interest in Aarhus. I have no doubts that we will get world-class architecture – a landmark for the city suited to the beautiful and unique location within the framework of the city center and in the middle of the forest.
Located 187 km northwest of Copenhagen, Aarhus is Denmark’s second largest city, with a population of around 282,000. Local benchmarks include the new Harbor Bath by Bjarke Ingels Group.
The city’s latest competition comes three years after Copenhagen-based Vargo, Nielsen & Palle won an international competition for a £ 20million new home for the Aarhus School of Architecture.
The city’s Vision Kongelunden regeneration program aims to redevelop the Aarhus Stadium and the surrounding Aarhus Sports Park into a new recreation area.
The existing Aarhus Stadium was built in the 1920s and is Denmark’s third largest sports venue, with a capacity of around 19,433 spectators. The combined football and athletics arena was modernized in the 1990s and 2000s, but suffers from significant viewing distances between the stands and the field.
The latest project will provide a new ‘modern and intimate’ football stadium designed to provide ‘the benefit and joy of the general public as well as the home ground for Danish football club Superliga AGF’.
The main objectives include providing a venue of “high architectural quality” and “professional international standing” which reflects the rich cultural history and landscape of the region while providing a “very intense stadium experience”.
The six finalists will submit their designs for the site in the spring and a grand winner will be announced in the fall.