2_1_ScanMag_69_Oct_2014_Text:Scan Magazine 1
Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Nordic Architecture Sweden
The Conscience Code An architect bureau with a conscience? Yes indeed! Scan Magazine talks to Åsa Kallstenius and Sanna Hederus, founders of Swedish architect bureau Kod Arkitekter (Code Architects), about how they are using their talents and resources to create beautiful buildings with society in mind. By Astrid Eriksson | Photos: Filip Erlind
Stockholm-based architect firm Kod Arkitekter is an all-round company working with diverse projects such as urban developments, residential projects, office buildings as well as educational facilities. They are striving to make every project beneficial to its environment and the people in it. In order to achieve this, a unique method – ‘The Code’ – has been developed. “The Code is a tool of communication,” Kallstenius and Hederus explain. “It sets terms and conditions of the project, clarifies the aim of what we are doing and works as a backbone and a point of reference throughout the project. We look at the clients as part of our in-house team and The Code makes everyone feel equally involved in the project, from beginning to end.” Thorough discussion and analysis The Code is developed in the early stages of a project, where initial ideas and requests are thoroughly discussed and analysed in order to highlight the core and soul of what is to be done. The idea is to identify the ‘bigger picture’, taking into account how the construction will affect the surrounding locations and what it will mean for the end client, i.e. the people who will use the finished facilities. “It is a time-consuming process,” Kallsten admits, “but it often ends up saving a lot of time usually spent on unnecessary hiccups and misunderstandings. This way everybody is on the same page from the
beginning.” Hederus adds: “Also, it helps us think one step further than simply pondering the aesthetics and visual design of the project. Those parts are of course still very important, but we mustn’t forget that architecture is a big part of the world we live in and what we do can have a great impact on society in many ways.” This thoughtfulness is displayed throughout the projects of Kod Arkitekter. Sometimes it shows in the added playground next to their apartment blocks – other times it can be seen in the usage of local materials and resources. “No matter how we do it, we try to make our projects an active contribution to society, rather than just an addition to the visual landscape,” say the founders. Social engagement and worldly consciousness Through their Code and ethics, Kod Arkitekter offer a distinctive take on the Scandinavian architectural market. Not many other firms compare in social engagement and worldly consciousness. The firm recently hired an intelligence analyst whose task is to analyse the environments and society surrounding the locations of Kod Arkitekter’s projects, enabling the architects to adapt their design and ideas to best suit the landscape and social settings of the planned constructions. Their original outlook has won them several nominations, wins and accreditations
in the architectural sphere. Kallstenius and Hederus are especially proud of the great ‘Bostadspriset’ (the Residential Award) they received in 2009. “It was the first Swedish architectural award ever to be given to female instigators,” Kallstenius and Hederus say. “It’s not something we thought about back then, or even now, but it feels really good when young female architects come up to us saying that we helped open many doors for a new generation of women in the field. That is naturally a fantastic legacy.” The recognition and praise following a big award win is of course a bonus, but what Kallstenius and Hederus consider to be the main reward is the professional pride that follows a nomination, let alone a win. “Being proud of the work we do is extremely important,” they say when discussing the cornerstones of their architectural philosophy. “The way we try to make a difference and impact with our projects is already a source of pride, which is just accentuated when an official recognition comes along. For anything to be truly successful, great and make an impact, it takes a lot of drive and love from the people behind it.” Luckily there is no shortage of either at Kod Arkitekter.
Kod Arkitekter AB Riddargatan 30 SE-114 57 Stockholm +46 (0)8 300870
For more information, please visit: www.kodarkitekter.se
Issue 69 | October 2014 | 97
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with actress Signe Egholm Olsen.