- Saunders Arkitectur AS
Saunders Arkitectur AS
BiographySaunders Arkitektur AS is an architectural practice founded by Canadian architect Todd Saunders (born in 1969, Gander, Terranova) who has lived and worked in Bergen, Norway since 1997.
Saunders obtained a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Planning and Design from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, followed by a Masters in Architecture from McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
The professional practice has worked in several countries, including Austria, Germany, Russia and Latvia. Alongside this, Saunders has lectured at the Bergen Architecture School since 2001.
He has held conferences at various architecture and design schools in Scandinavia, Canada and the UK, in addition to Norway.
Todd Saunders is a member of NAL and various architecture jury panels including the annual Norwegian Concrete Prize. He was also a member of the architecture jury panel in Finland and Sweden.
Saunders Arkitektur AS works mainly in Norway, although also on projects in the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Canada. Their work has been featured and published in newspapers, magazines and books worldwide.
Driven by a strong commitment to design, oriented towards the contemporary, Saunders Arkitektur AS design studio "believes that architecture should play an important role in creating place, using form, materials and texture to help evoke and shape human memory and interaction".
In many cases this design vision brings together dynamic buildings, experimenting with materials and traditional construction methods.
Until now the practice has mainly been responsible for housing, small-scale surveys and multi-functional projects, in both urban surroundings and more extreme settings. These latter are visually impactive and strikingly spectacular, despite their location in diverse natural surroundings.
The Aurland Lookout (2006) is a clear example of this. A cantilever bridge over a void created by a Norwegian fjord, it was designed by Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen.
At 30 meters long and 4 meters wide, the observation point provides a breathtaking panoramic view over the edge of a mountain more than 600 meters above the valley below.
The overhanging walkway won first prize in the Norwegian Highway Department’s international competition. A massive Corten stairway built in the remote Stokke Forest, Norway is also impressive. Once again, the observation point does not lead to any specific place, but offers visitors a new perspective on the surrounding woodland.
Saunders design studio was commissioned to create a series of artists’ residences on the island of Fogo in Newfoundland. Located in a landscape of jagged rocks overlooking the ocean, the project aims to preserve the islanders’ traditions while rejuvenating architecture through art and culture.
The design studio fully met the client’s objectives. In addition to resolving specific design issues, they created prototype micro-environments that literally emerge from the rocky outcrop over the ocean, highlighting the dramatic nature of the places. From 2010 to 2013, they created a series of studios, ranging in size from a minimum 30 sq.m. to a maximum 130 sq.m.
These include the Tower Studio (2011) and Squish Studio (2013) projects. The first is a 50 sq.m. three-storey building which, although square on plan, follows the conformation of the rocky coastline of Shoal Bay. The twisted, sculptural shape of the building enables it to blend naturally into the landscape.
The Squish Studio is a smaller 30 s.m. trapezoidal structure, located at the eastern end of Fogo island.
The dual angled ceiling internally, triangular entrance deck, sheltered from the prevailing winds, and north terrace overlooking the ocean are some of the features that make this building as minimalist as it is extreme. Natural light, combined with thermal insulation, and a photovoltaic system with energy storage, contribute further to the exceptional flexibility of this small studio. With its intense white color, the building is designed to inspire artists’ creativity and for temporary or permanent installations.
The practice’s body of work also includes a series of interesting residential projects (villas), almost all of which are in Norway. These houses are distinctive due their dynamic, almost futuristic shapes, and are often made with local, traditional materials. The impact of each project on the landscape is crucial in endeavoring to create a landmark building which is never pretentious or invasive.
While retaining its tendency to build individual homes and studios, even on a smaller scale, in recent years the practice has switched to new larger types of buildings, such as residential complexes, hotels, cultural centers and spas.
Saunders Arkitektur AS selected works and projects
- Arete Farm, Roxbury (USA), in corso
- Illusuak Cultural Centre, Labrador (Canada), in corso
- Complesso residenziale Bio, Instanbul (Turchia), in corso
- Boutique Hotel, Marrakesh (Marocco), in corso
- Austevoll Cabin, Austevoll (Norvegia), in corso
- Carraig Ridge, Banff (Canada), in corso
- Sundvolden Spa, Sundvolden (Norvegia), in corso
- Villa Grieg, Bergen (Norvegia), in corso
- Villa S, Bergen (Norvegia), 2014
- Abitazione con giardino Slice, Haugesund (Norvegia), 2014
- Villa S, Bergen (Norvegia), 2014
- Villa M, Vågadalen, Os (Norvegia), 2014
- Villa Mohn, Bergen (Norvegia), 2014
- Villa Riise, Haugesund (Norvegia), 2014
- Villa Tyssøy, Bergen (Norvegia), 2014
- Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island, Newfoundland (Canada), 2013
- Hytte Tyin (Norvegia), 2013
- Abitazione e studio a Salt Spring Island (Canada), 2013
- Squish Studio, Fogo Island, Newfoundland (Canada), 2013
- Xhibition (progetto), Bergen (Norvegia), 2013
- Stokke Forest Stair, Stokke (Norvegia), 2012
- Bridge Studio, Fogo Island, Newfoundland (Canada), 2011
- Tower Studio, Fogo Island, Newfoundland (Canada), 2011
- Long studio, Fogo Island, Newfoundland (Canada), 2010
- Villa Morild, Gulen (Norvegia), 2010
- Solberg Tower & Parks, Sarpsborg (Norvegia), 2010
- Lund Gård Kindergarten (progetto), Geilo (Norvegia), 2010
- Villa G, Hjellestad (Norvegia), 2009
- Sogn og Fjordane, Rysedalsvika (Norvegia), 2007
- Villa Storingavika, Bergen (Norvegia), 2007
- Aurland Lookout, Aurland (Novergia), 2006
- Hardanger Retreat, Kjepsø, Hardanger Fjord (Norvegia), 2003
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