Almost by definition, the army doesn’t necessarily seem like the institution to push forward sustainable architecture and green design principles. With its recent design contest for the new Aalborg Barracks, the Danish army is proving itself a patron of forward-thinking architecture. According to Martin Krogh, a partner at the firm ADEPT, which submitted the winning concept alongside COWI engineers, NORD Arkitekter and GHB Landscape Architects, the open brief gave them freedom to pursue sustainable strategies, and in this case, think outside the box.
Their winning submission for the 9,000-square meter facility, the Green Circuit, is a modular system set to contract during downtime and expand during peacekeeping missions or wars. Centered around a hub, or main barrack building, the facility can add or subtract additional, flexible rooms built from 20- to 40-foot containers. Krogh and his colleagues sketched out pieces with different functions, such as training, maintenance, and living space, giving the system the ability to fit the circumstance, which can radically change in the military depending on the mission, and the flexibility to be reset by troops themselves operating a crane.
“We actually referenced the World FLEX Home,” says Krogh. “The Danish military was very taken by how the U.S. was able to set up so quickly in humanitarian disaster zones and create a camp, really a small society, so easily.”
The Circuit also earns its green stripes with sustainable energy solutions, including movable solar cells and bio-digestors for waste. Set for completion in 2016, it’s part of a wider program to create “Green Establishments” that will help the military reduce its energy consumption and CO2 emissions.