Architectural Talks | Manni Group meets Dorte Mandrup

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Architectural Talks | Manni Group meets Dorte Mandrup

11 Jan, 2022

What are the advantages of building off-site and why does the Scandinavian school of architecture have such a close relationship with the natural landscape?


Manni Group's Vittorio Marcon spoke about this with Lars Johan Almgren, one of the most interesting young talents in the world of architecture and part of the Dorte Mandrup firm, for Architectural Talks, Manni Group's series aimed at explaining the views of architects and how their processes will help build a more sustainable future.

Here is what you will find in this article:

Dorte Mandrup: the international architectural firm with Danish roots

Dorte Mandrup is the architectural firm founded in 1999 in Copenhagen, Denmark, which has since become an important name internationally.

Dorte Mandrup is the founder and creative director of the firm, which bears her name.
Dorte is a Danish architect whose works are recognised for their originality both in their designs and in the choice of materials used in their construction.

The study is based on the principles of form and material, while maintaining a strong relationship with the historical and cultural context in which the architectural works are set: the task of the architect carrying out the work is to enhance the place and give it new meaning.

The Danish firm combines art with scientific method and creates irreplaceable places.

The projects created by the Dorte Mandrup firm include:

The guest of our interview Lars Johan Almgren graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 2013 and subsequently realised competition-winning projects for Erik Giudice Architecture (Paris) and Kjellander Sjöberg Architecture (Stockholm), designed the Exile in Berlin and arranged the conditions for an exhibition at the Architecture Biennale in 2018. 

He is currently part of the Dorte Mandrup team and, in the interview with Vittorio Marcon, he talks about the Scandinavian firm's relationship with nature and the use of off-site construction for some projects located in settings with a particular climate.

In the course of the interview, Lars Johan Almgren will explain how the relationship with nature is a defining characteristic of Scandinavian architectural firms, leaving us with a valuable piece of advice for young architects.

Manni Group's interview with Lars Johan Almgren by Dorte Mandrup

Below is our interview with Lars Johan Almgren of Dorte Mandrup.

Vittorio Marcon: Many projects are set in complex and sometimes remote naturalistic contexts. For your firm, has off-site construction technology ever been an effective methodology to use in extreme construction sites?

Lars Johan Almgren: Building on off-site sites, especially for the Iceberg project, is difficult, mainly due to the harsh climate and Arctic conditions.
Construction times are tight so some things have to be produced in factories or covered houses and only then moved to the site and built quickly during that short period.
So yes, I think it is an appropriate way to proceed, also because the terrain or conditions can be very difficult to work with in the field.

V: Aesthetic context and people are the axioms of your firm's compositional approach. At what point is this reflected on a technical level in the architectural construction characteristics in the design process?

L: The start of the design stage takes place with engineers.
We do not have any in-house but often rely on collaborators and they come in the early competition or design stages.

V: Compared to the others, the Scandinavian school of architecture shows a particular ability to include contemporary interventions in the natural landscape.
Why do you think?

L: There is truth in this question. I often see many excellent students who, when they apply to our firm, demonstrate an excellent ability to work with the landscape. To answer your question, I think it is probably because of a strong passion and relationship with nature. Mine is only a hypothesis.

V: Talking about your past projects, which is the one you are particularly proud of or most attached to?

L: Perhaps “The Whale”. It is interesting how it communicates on various levels. Some projects are only interesting for architects because they deal with certain structural problems or aspects of how to arrange an office or things like that. However “The Whale” has this particular power to speak to everyone. 

V: You are part of the new generation: what advice would you like to give to young architects?

L: In my opinion, it is important to always remain a little naive so as to allow yourself to make mistakes and keep trying.
Don’t always play it safe: launch into a new project or elaborate sketch without having too much experience.

Written by

Raffaele Bulgarelli - Digital Marketing Expert at Manni Group
Raffaele Bulgarelli - Digital Marketing Expert at Manni Group

Raffaele, Digital Marketing Expert of Manni Group, works in synergy with Isopan, gaining insight into the technical world of sandwich panels and keeping pace with the latest trends in the building industry. Thanks to his training in Architecture, he has a keen eye for online topics and activities involving designers and architects.

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