Vandkunsten Architects Interview: Love of Wood



“It’s a living material, and so are we.” In this short video, two architects from the influential and prizewinning Danish architecture firm, Vandkunsten Architects, talk about the merits of wood as a building material – from its climate-friendly qualities to its soothing effect.

“It’s a declaration of love of nature.” It is no exaggeration to say that architects Jens Thomas Arnfred (founder and architect) and Søren Nielsen (partner and architect) are fans of wood. From a climate perspective, Nielsen says, wood is invaluable – it is a bio-based, CO2 depot made from trees that continue to grow. Moreover, he compares and connects wood to the body of a human being – a living material that moves and responds to its surroundings. “It’s a cosy material, and people know. Most summerhouses are built out of wood,” Nielsen continues, adding that Vandkunsten Architects started designing workplaces built from wood when they recognized that everyday life should be as lovely as life during a vacation: “Wood lowers your blood pressure. You relax and talk nicely to others because it’s a little like vacation. You’re not in high-strung career stress when you’re in a wooden interior, like if you’re surrounded by glass and steel and concrete.”

Vandkunsten Architects is a Danish architecture firm founded in 1970. Their philosophy is designing architecture for people – creating housing “designed for the ways that people live, work, play, and think.” The firm works within the full range of architectural practice – from landscaping and city planning to site plans, urban renewal and renovation of both residential and commercial architecture. Moreover, they often take on projects for institutions with a social or cultural purpose. Projects include the Modern Seaweed House in Læsø and the Blue Corner in Copenhagen’s Christianshavn district. Vandkunsten Architects has received numerous awards such as The Eckersberg Medal (2014), Alvar Aalto Medal (2009), and the Fritz Schumacher Medal (1996). Moreover, they have been nominated five times for the Mies van der Rohe Award. For more see: https://vandkunsten.com/en

Jens Thomas Arnfred and Søren Nielsen were interviewed by Line Nørskov Eriksen at Vandkunsten Architects’ offices in Copenhagen, Denmark in January 2020 in connection with the exhibition ‘Living Better Lives with Vandkunsten’ at Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark: https://utzoncenter.dk/en/exhibition/new-exhibition-at-the-utzon-center-living-better-lives-with-vandkunsten-8971

Camera: Klaus Elmer

Edited by Klaus Elmer

Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner

Cover photo: Courtesy of Vandkunsten Architects

Copyright: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020

Supported by Dreyers Fond

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