The Ugliest Building in Aarhus – now with pictures!

Aarhus has a lot of weird modern architecture, but by far the ugliest (in my humble opinion) is the journalism school. I guess it’s like the height of weird 60’s architecture, and the architecture students come by sometimes to stare at it. It’s made of bare concrete and full of corners. It feels like a bunker with skylights. It reminds me a lot of Bauhaus architecture, but I’ve never heard anyone say the word “Bauhaus” when describing it, so that’s probably just my ignorance showing in thinking that all gray concrete blocks are the same. At any rate, Walter Gropius would be proud. (And my 20th-century German art professor would be proud of me, for remembering that name.)

For reference, in case any of you were wonder what the heck I’m talking about with Bauhaus architecture:

The Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany. Wikipedia tells me the Bauhaus movement was from 1919-1932, so I guess the DMJX school is actually not related to this movement.

I don’t know what I hated more – the building itself, or the 35-minute bike ride to get there. (Actually that’s a lie – bike ride was by far the worst.) Luckily, the first unit of our studies has just ended, and we won’t be meeting there any more.

Thomas! My Danish coucshsurfing host and friend. I didn’t take this photo.

Last weekend, though, there was a big party at the journalism school. Oddly, none of the Erasmus students heard about it – I heard about it from a couple of different Danish journalism students. After stopping by parties in my dorm (costume party, you had to wear something that started with the letter B) and a different dorm (Beer vs. Tequila Night), I made my way up to the school. Unfortunately, I arrived at 12:30, and there was no entry after midnight. So I had to get ahold of my friend who was there – Thomas, the guy I couchsurfed with that first night – and he had to tell the security guys to let me in. Haha!

As much as I hated that building, though, that night I got really weirdly nostalgic and was sad that my time there was over. Yes, we were welcome to come hang out and use the library, but since I didn’t have courses there anymore, I wouldn’t be going there every day, and since it was so far out of the way, I probably wouldn’t go there anymore. Up until that moment I never realized I had made a connection with that building!

The party was pretty ridiculous. There was foosball, dancing, and lots and lots of beer. The cafeteria had been turned into a bar/dance floor, and the gray concrete floor was sticky with spilled beer. I learned a lot about Danish culture. For instance:

  • A Dane will talk to you for 30 minutes and act really interested in you, but this is not a form of flirting. I’ve had this happen with literally like eight Danish guys in the past month and they all turned out to have girlfriends. I guess they’re just hyper-friendly?
  • Danes don’t dance unless provoked, but when they do, they are a mess of flying elbows and barreling bodies. I couldn’t stay on the dance floor for more than 10 minutes because I was just getting injured. A guy would be dancing/walking backwards and barrel into me, almost knocking me over, then glare at me like it was my fault. A girl would step on my toes with stiletto heels without so much as a backwards glance. And I had to be quick to dodge flailing arms. There is no sense of “this is my space, I’m dancing over here, and you’re dancing over there” – they move around like crazy. It is downright dangerous!
  • Danes seem to flirt by bumping into people and spilling beer on them. I’m not actually sure this is a thing, but it seemed to be happening a lot, so Thomas and I started joking about it. At one point, he was talking to a girl, when another girl “tripped” and barreled into her, effectively knocking the other girl aside, placing herself between Thomas and said girl, and of course, spilling beer on Thomas. Even the other girl noticed how strategic that maneuver was! For the rest of the night, whenever I saw anyone spill beer on another person, I would exclaim to Thomas, “He must like her!”
  • Danes can be really, really open when they’re drunk. I saw at least a half-dozen girls run up to Thomas, fling their arms around him, and start excitedly chatting in Danish. I assumed they were good friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. Turns out most of them were strangers. I also had one girl tell me a bunch of personal stuff, and then ask me for life advice – whether she should study in London like she wanted or settle down in Aarhus with her boyfriend. I had no idea what to say, so I was just like “I guess you have to do what’s best for you.” Strange! But kind of fun.

Coming up next – I did journalism!!! I went to this art/cultural center/hippie commune place yesterday and took a bunch of photos. I’ll post them soon! If you want to look the place up, it’s called Godsbanen.


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