Architects collaborate. That’s a fact. But how does a collaboration work out and what are the benefits of collaborating? Does a cross-disciplinary approach enrich a project? Do different cultures clash when working together? Or is it simply necessary to work together to create the best possible solution?
To answer these questions, DANISH™ asked Svendborg Architects, Kullegaard and Schønherr. These are the three Danish architecture firms currently in the process of designing the whole of the Bifaldet development – a new housing area at Musicon, in Roskilde, Denmark.
‘Kullegaard is the coordinating architecture firm, working in close collaboration with Svendborg Architects, who are responsible for the main architectural grip, while Schønherr designs the landscape surrounding the new housing. So, we had to find a way to divide the tasks and responsibilities between us – an ongoing process. It’s a two-tracked process – a collaborative process and a creative process – and the two of them must match,’ says Dennis Holm Pedersen, architect at Svendborg Architects.
For the Bifaldet project, the collaboration stems from a strategic partnership between Svendborg Architects and Kullegaard, during which both firms have enhanced their organisation and experience in various fields. By including Schønherr, the partnership has made the project stronger. All three parties agree that this has also contributed to a common strengthening of all involved. Kasper Kullegaard, partner and architect at Kullegaard, also recognises the two-tracked process with Svendborg Architects.
‘The collaboration between us and Schønherr is project-based – we have a regular task process to solve. The collaboration between us and Svendborg Architects is a bit more complex since we are two architect teams that work on the same part of the architectural solution. To do even more of this in the future, we have created a strategic partnership. The goal right now is to control a balancing act where you must incorporate some guidelines for the collaboration to get the best out of it,’ says Kullegaard.
Supporting One Another
Collaboration is also an act of recognising different points of knowledge between companies.
‘On certain architectural topics, we’re more persistent on getting our choices through. And it seems that our contribution is to uphold the architecture. Kullegaard, for example, is just as competent when it comes to getting this job done, but we just kind of take on different parts of project – where our different strengths fit,’ says Pedersen.
Kullegaard agrees. He says that both Svendborg Architects and Kullegaard have different strengths that should be used in the optimal way. That said, collaborative challenges can arise during the process, but overall the collaboration should benefit everyone involved as well as the project itself.
‘We have different strengths regarding this project and we try to involve and learn from each other so that we as companies, as well as the project, benefit from our partnership,’ says Kullegaard.
Sanne Slot Hansen, associated partner at Schønherr, joins in. She says that the main advantage of working together with other drawing offices is that you can concentrate on your area of specialisation and at the same time make use of each other’s special competencies.
‘You can use one another for professional sparring and exchanging of different experiences. At the same time, different company cultures ensure that the project is looked at from different angles, shedding light on and examining it from a wider perspective,” says Slot Hansen.
By having a clear distribution of roles as well as a well-defined distribution of responsibilities in terms of assignments, a project team can become even more successful, Slot Hansen states. At the same time, a project like this is especially successful when establishing a mutual culture. The project and its parts can be discussed in a forum where stakeholders listen to each other’s views.
‘When this happens, you can use the whole project team’s different skills and knowledge to improve the project from sketch to final construction,’ Slot Hansen concludes.
Type: Masterplan, housing, retail, landscape
Location: Musicon, Roskilde, Denmark
Size: Stage I: 4000 m², Stage II: 3500 m²
Client: KSE Ejendomme ApS
Team: Kullegaard, Svendborg Architects and Schønherr
Prize: First prize
‘Bifaldet consists of five volumes in varying heights of three to six floors, making sunlight central to the building’s location and design. This ensures that the housing and urban spaces have the optimum light conditions. The dwellings relate to the public life of the area while respecting residents’ privacy.
The choice of materials has been a key factor as they will create an anchor for the entire district, not just for the project. The focus has been to find an architectural balance between the transient and the current, a median between the old and the new.
This is a progressive housing project that is rooted in the context, announcing that an exciting new chapter has begun in Musicon. The project is centrally located in Roskilde – close to town, the city’s many cultural sites and its existing infrastructure.
In Stage I, the buildings mainly consist of housing that caters for a diverse and varied audience. Stage II will add several public features like shops and cafes and senior co-housing with external activities.
Stage I is expected to open in 2017/2018.’
– Source: Svendborg Architects