"Architecture is the opposite of the coca-cola-principle". Meet creative director of Henning Larsen Architects, Louis Becker, for a talk about building globally with a scandinavian outset.
Louis Becker says that architecture is first and foremost about seeing things grow. With architecture your dreams become physical, Becker explains: "We are building our ambitions for society." If architecture was separate from life and society, it would be an uninteresting form and space. To Henning Larsen Architects a building is always a manifestation of a concrete place and surrounding. The inside of a building, Becker states, must have a relation to the outside - there has to be a dialogue between the life and hope inside, and the city as a whole.
Architecture is also a merger of cultures and ideas - Scandinavian ideas of transparency, democracy and equal access affect the way Henning Larsen Architects approach architecture, but at the same time it is very important to think of what is necessary in the nature, culture and climate that you are working with: "When two different ways of seeing the world meet, that's when something interesting happens."
Becker explains these ideas in relation to two very different projects, one in Saudia Arabia and one in Iceland which was made in collaboration with artist Olafur Eliasson: The Harpa Concert Hall in Reyjavik received the prestigious EU Mies van der Rohe-award in 2013.
Louis Becker (b. 1962) is a Danish architect and Principal Partner at Henning Larsen Architects. In 2008 Becker was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Department of Architecture and Design at Aalborg University. In 2011 he received the Eckersberg Medal by the Academic Council, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts as a recognition of his achievements of putting Danish architecture on the world map.
Louis Becker was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner
Filmed by Jakob Solbakken
Edited by Martin Kogi
Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014
Supported by Nordea-fonden
Learn more in the following link http://bit.ly/1wDzRsw
Speaking from the newly-opened Istanbul practice of Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects, Anne Marie Galmstrup describes her scandinavian design process in the context of her role as Principal-in-Charge of projects in Turkey. “Architecture is about space and about interaction between people,” Galmstrup says, asking “How does it work here? How is it different in this cultural environment or in that climate?” Galmstrup discusses the atmosphere in Turkey, and how to engage young architects. Henning Larsen has hosted a series of “Imagination Schools,” two-week workshops set in the middle east charged with overcoming regional design challenges, and Galmstrup has been instrumental in the orchestration of these and many more projects over her ten year tenure at Henning Larsen.
“Doing architecture is listening.” Some of the greatest architects of our time – from Peter Zumthor to Jean Nouvel and Diébédo Francis Kéré – here share their inspirational thoughts on what it is that makes global architecture work.
Swiss architect Peter Zumthor (b. 1943) always has a certain “feeling for the space”, which enables him to react as an architect. This he also attributes to having background knowledge of the place, which is easier in our modern, global world. The real challenge is to understand the local people and their subtext.
“I’m a contextual architect, but for me the context isn’t only the site.” French architect Jean Nouvel (b. 1945) considers architecture to be part of a wider historical and cultural context. A building, he feels, always has roots, and a building can’t simply be put anywhere and must always develop according to its context.
Danish architect Louis Becker (b. 1962), who is a Principal Partner at Henning Larsen Architects, feels that the globalization of architecture enables architects to both influence – and be influenced: “The nice thing about a Coca Cola is it’s the same thing all over the world… if you did that in architecture, it would be a disaster.”
“Having the opportunity to see both worlds – or even many worlds – is an incredible source of inspiration,” says Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi (b. 1976), who is inspired by travelling the world and aspires to create projects that “seem like they belong there, and at the same time look like they came out of nowhere.”
Norwegian architect Kjetil Trædal Thorsen (b. 1958), founding partner of Snøhetta, feels that there is a great strength in coming from the outside as an architect, as it enables you to “re-search, re-interpret, re-translate.” Moreover, co-operation is key, which also means involving the locals and using their local material – in this sense, architecture builds bridges.
Architecture is a process made in collaboration with the local people, who should ultimately consider the structure their own, according to Burkina Faso architect Diébédo Francis Kéré (b. 1965): “Architecture starts with people.” In continuation of this, Kéré uses old, local materials to create something new and appealing.
English architect Norman Foster (b. 1935) feels that it is important to use architecture as a tool to address some of the bigger social issues – such as sanitation, water and power – while still respecting the urban structure. The true task is to transform e.g. settlements rather than simply tear them down.
The interviews can be watched in full length at http://channel.louisiana.dk/topics/architecture
All interviews by Marc-Christoph Wagner, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016
“He was outstanding in his time. He would be in trouble the way the world looks now.” In this video, Danish architect Louis Becker, of Henning Larsen Architects, describes the renowned architect Jørn Utzon – who would have turned 100 in 2018 – as “a mystic” within the profession, working in unattainable ways.
At the School of Architecture in Copenhagen, Utzon was presented as “sacrosanct but also unapproachable,” which created a sort of distance to him. Becker feels that Utzon was uncompromising in two ways – he didn’t care about the business side of things, and he was unbending in his way of working: “But we don't know, because if you’re a mystic, we wouldn’t know if there are compromises in what’s produced. I think sometimes we assign things to Utzon, which aren’t there.” Becker adds that he’s sure that Utzon too went through a process, but that this process was a private project.
Becker highlights Utzon’s Bagsværd Church as unique – “something very Nordic and a little mystic.” In continuation of this, he shares Utzon’s love of travelling, which he finds crucial: “The absolutely most important thing is to have your own concepts challenged.” Seeing Utzon’s National Assembly Building in Kuwait, Becker was fascinated by how Utzon reads Arabic culture: “That building is more Arabic than 99 per cent of the Arabic buildings around it. That’s because he reads it from the outside and translates it with his own culture, with a Nordic approach and that becomes the parliament in Kuwait.”
Louis Becker (b. 1962) is a Danish architect and the Design Principal and partner at Henning Larsen Architects. In 2008, Becker was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Aalborg University Institute of Architecture, Design and Media Technology. In 2011, he was awarded the Eckersberg Medal from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, in recognition of his excellent contributions to elevating the global presence of Danish Architecture. Among the many prestigious projects of Henning Larsen Architects are Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavik, Iceland and Siemens’ Global Headquarters in Munich, Germany.
Jørn Utzon (b.1918-d.2008) was a Danish Pritzker Prize-winning architect responsible for notable buildings such as the Sydney Opera House (1973) in Australia. When it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2007, Utzon became the second person to have received such recognition for a work during his lifetime. Other noteworthy buildings by Utzon include Bagsværd Church in Denmark (1976) and the National Assembly Building in Kuwait (1982).
Louis Becker was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at Henning Larsen Architects. The interview is part of a collaboration with the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark in connection with Utzon’s 100th birthday in April 2018.
Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Cover photo: Kuwait National Assembly Building, Courtesy of Utzon Center/Utzon Archives
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018
Supported by Dreyers Fond
FOLLOW US HERE!