We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “Cambodia Remote Hideout Huts” competition – Brendan James Cooney, Luna Perschl and Svanta Karlsson from Sweden!

Honorable mention from Sweden

We are a diverse group of people with backgrounds spanning from the US to Sweden and Austria who together have converged in Malmö, Sweden.

Luna acquired her architectural degree at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, with an exchange year at the Tokyo University. Shortly after, she moved her professional focus to Scandinavia, where she worked both in Sweden and Denmark. Currently, she is working at Wingårdhs Arkitekter.

Svante and Brendan both work at Arkitema Architects and hold master's degrees in architecture from Lund University in Sweden, having previously studied architecture in Berlin and New York, respectively.

Before venturing into architecture, Brendan’s background consists of a variety of creative pursuits, including working as a tattoo artist and a freelance graphic designer. Svante has a diverse academic background and has work experience from, among others, Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter in Copenhagen.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

Luna: I’ve been involved with projects of various scales, but I feel most confident with housing developments and smaller scales. My passion is to work out the complexity the field of compact and sustainable living brings along.

Svante: I prefer to work on projects with a grand enough scale to allow for community interests to be part of the projects, be it schools, housing, or urban planning.

Brendan: I'm intrigued by the urban scale and have a keen interest in developing new urban environments that foster community growth and a strong sense of place, whilst reinforcing existing urban spaces valued for their unique urban qualities and characteristics.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Under the best of circumstances, architecture has the possibility to alter the way we understand the world. It can be a language that transcends borders, allowing us the possibility to discern life under different circumstances. By delving into a certain project, one has the possibility to inhabit that context and hopefully realize and learn something new.

In Sweden architects have perhaps a stronger social standing than actual pull. To the general public, we seem to have far more power than we actually do, and sometimes the soft values we champion can be drowned out by short-sighted financial arguments. But generally, architects are looked upon favourably, and perhaps at times we are regarded as more knowledgeable than we actually are. But given how much our ideas tend to be watered down in the end, that's a misconception we could afford to perpetuate.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Competitions, small or big, provide a clear path for ideas to take precedence. A competition allows freedom from censorship, be it in your own head or from frugal builders. A competition allows for an argument to be presented in full, terrible as it may be. But it will hopefully be judged on its actual merits, as opposed to your reputation or connections. It's an equalizer of sorts, as well as a great way to sharpen your tools in a more general sense.

Smaller competitions give the possibility to practice your craft outside of everyday work environment. With the right people, working on a competition can be a welcome creative outlet.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

A competition can be a great way to focus one's energy. A set problem and a deadline are both invaluable assets to the creative process. Regardless of the joy that is brought by the affirmation of success, to actually finish and deliver a project on time can be a reward by itself, always leaving one with a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

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