Henning Larsen Architect projects are characterized by a high degree of social responsibility and a strong respect of the environment, how do you manage these issues in the design process?
Louis Becker Formulating a common objective in terms of sustainability early on in the process ensures that all partners take the same approach to the process and work constructively to reach the same goals. It is important to provide the framework for an operational, integrated design process with measurable criteria. This ensures a smooth and open process and provides the opportunity to more systematically apply the most central criteria and themes for each development area. We apply Integrated Energy Design, which is a groundbreaking method for reducing energy consumption in a building or an urban development plan. In an integrated design process, the energy consumption of the design is dynamically simulated. In this way, the very early phases of the design process focuses on a high degree of energy efficiency and comfort at the lowest possible cost.
Is it possible, for you, to talk about an esthetic of sustainability, does it exist?
Louis Becker The dream of air and light changed architecture and created modernism. The global climate challenge will change architecture in the same way. Sustainability will change urban planning, architecture and design forever. Architecture has always been more than functional and beautiful spaces. Sustainability adds another dimension. “
Your residential project in Vejile, The Wave, received several awards for its iconic shape and for its technical solutions, which are the main features of this project?
Louis Becker With the magnificent location overlooking the promenade and the bay the characteristic building both respects and challenges the potential of the area. During the day the white waves are reflected in the sea and at night the characteristic profile will look like illuminated multi-coloured mountains. The Wave is inspired by the characteristics of the area: the fjord, the bridge, the town and the hills. The clear and easily recognizable signature of the building connects the residential area with the sea, the landscape and the town.
Another building strictly connected to the water is the recently opened new Academy of Fine Arts at Umeå University…
Louis Becker The intention has been to design an open, robust study environment where each student feels part of the creative study community. The open layout and informal meeting places create a light and laboratory-like atmosphere supporting idea development and creative work processes. The location by Umeå River is unique.
The design supports the opportunities for mutual inspiration and the close exchange of knowledge and ideas. In contrast to the dynamic atrium, the drawing rooms placed along the facades have a simple and rational design. The varied pattern of windows not only creates a strong visual effect – it also generously lets the light flow into the building and offers a breathtaking view of the river.”
Which is the current project of Henning Larsen Architects that better expresses the future evolution of architecture? And why?
Louis Becker We are currently involved in projects in 20 countries and one of the latest is the Calabar International Conference Center in the southeastern part of Nigeria located in the scenic river delta of the Cross River State. Nigeria is developing rapidly at the moment and, as an architect invited to contribute to this development, you have a special obligation to consider architecture as more than a question of geometry. Architecture also contributes to the development of society and I think that is important.