Danish architectural practice FRIIS & MOLTKE embraces the social responsibility that has been a part of their DNA since their founding in 1954 by prioritizing five areas of already existing expertise and appointing a lead specialist for each segment.
Housing, Education, Hospitals, Caretaking, and Interior and Design are the five areas in which, as of this year, FRIIS & MOLTKE will be able to offer increased expertise. The five areas are already what the company is renowned and acknowledged for and are chosen due to their interaction with society and the people living in it.
“Ever since 1954, our architectural designs have focused on the wellbeing of the individual and supported their sense of community and participation in democratic society”, states Anders Christian Bregnballe, who is partner, architect and head of business development at FRIIS & MOLTKE. He continues:
“Appointing five new lead specialists for each segment will enable us to offer profound knowledge within each area, which will be beneficial to our collaborators and end-users. Already we have seen how it unveils new networks, new ideas and a tremendous energy that unquestionably will result in even better projects.”
Thomas Ushus, Lead specialist in Education and architect at FRIIS & MOLTKE, has great expectations of the defined focus of the company:
“Whenever we step into a new project, we always work with the end-user. Who knows their lives better than them? Naturally, their experience is limited to where they are and what they have tried. Just imagine how our knowhow of projects from many countries and regions, provided to them upfront in a collaborative brainstorm, will be able to lift the final product”, he says.
FRIIS & MOLTKE works with a highly prioritized phase 0 before the actual drawing process, where end-users are involved in workshops and tests:
“The importance of listening to the needs of the end-user, combined with our deep insights, cannot be ignored, and it is what repeatedly creates innovative and constructive solutions”, states Anders Christian Bregnballe.
Megatrends across the segments
Sustainability, circular economy and well-being(?) are not among the five chosen segments. The simple explanation for this is that all of them are fundamental elements in every project FRIIS & MOLTKE takes on:
“We consider sustainability in two ways. Firstly, it is the fundament of every design and decision we make. Also, we acknowledge it as an important megatrend, and one that cuts across each of our five segments”, Anders Christian Bregnballe explains. He then continues:
“Secondly, what´s important to us is how we integrate sustainability in the correlating context. In hospitals it might look and appear different than in the field of education.”
Thomas Ushus has a good example, the Tjørring School, where FRIIS & MOLTKE recently combined sustainable and pedagogical elements in the field of education, using green roofs:
“The green roofs serve a multifunctional purpose within sustainability. Not only do they cleanse the outdoor environment for dust. They also lower the CO2 imprint, support the habitats of small animals and insects, collect water, protect the building from overheating, as well as isolate it from the cold during winter. But that´s just what they do in themselves. The fun stuff begins when all of this is measurable for the students inside the school.”
FRIIS & MOLTKE collaborates with tech- and software companies, which enables the school to collect data usable for teaching:
“The same goes for sustainability amongst other megatrends such as movement, health and well-being, flexibility and pedagogic that we use these as drivers to ensure that every room in the school is a learning room. Not necessarily a classroom, but a room for learning”, Thomas Ushus says.
The five segments that FRIIS & MOLTKE have been working with for more than half a century cover approximately 50% of all building activity in 2018 in Denmark. These numbers are without Design and Interior. FRIIS & MOLTKE has building activities nationally as well as in the Scandinavian countries, but often work together closely with people from all over the globe:
“Our vision is to be the core of a knowledge bank. As part of believing in taking social responsibility, we share results, thoughts, network and ideas. You might say: We appreciate being disturbed”, says Anders Christian Bregnballe. By this he means that every piece of architecture is unique:
“In our opinion, innovation is the outcome when a dilemma is resolved through knowledge and a passion to design the right solution. We have the knowledge, passion and stamina to address the difficult dilemmas that arise in the field of architecture – something our business partners often give us credit for”, he smiles.
Thus, FRIIS & MOLTKE have recently designed a proposal for a theatre, inviting a CEO of a different theatre and former client as an advisor. Anders Christian Bregnballe explains it like this:
“When you design architecture it is all about people – you have to dive in deep to solve the task.”