We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Buildner Sustainability Award winners of our "Iceland Movie Pavilion" competition – Ola Spangen, Rikke Sandbugt, Marius Erikstad and Kathinka Magnus from Norway!

Sustainability Award winners from Norway

ASAS is a well-established and independent architecture office founded in 1980 and based in Hamar and Oslo, Norway. The company consist of 20 architects, interior designers, urbanists, graphic designers and administration in a nonhierarchical system with a social profile. We have a strong reputation as a versatile, playful, and tidy architecture office, and are focusing on a healthy working culture. Our mantra is precision at all levels. We always promise ourselves and our clients to deliver solid and innovative projects. We always discuss and agree on why we are doing a project. Thereafter how to do it, and finally what it shall become. A variety in approaches is essential to a successful result. Ideas and concepts are brought to paper by hand as our main working tool. Hand sketching is supplied by testing spatial qualities in physical models before the projects enter the 3D digital world. This gives our team time to investigate the optimal relation between form, space and function, and to choose the correct strategy for sustainability, systems and materials. This is valuable architecture and the purpose of our office.

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?

Our field of knowledge spans from the in situ furniture to big master plans through 43 years of experience and references. Typical building typologies are museums, health care buildings, housing, schools, kindergartens, town halls and offices, in both private and public sectors. From our more recent portfolio we have received architectural awards and positive publicity due to the sustainable wooden project for student housing at Toneheim, Hamar, a triple bottom line housing project in Lillehammer, and the transformation of an old military bunker to the Pavillion Brekstad, Fosen.

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

Architecture is still well described as including the three attributes of strength, utility and beauty (Vitruvius). But in a modern world the definition also has to be expanded to include a sustainable framework of profit, people, and the planet. At its roots, architecture exists to create the physical environment in which people live and work, but architecture is also a part of our culture and historical development. It stands as a representation of how we see ourselves, as well as how we see the world. We have a strong passion for space and environments, in the same way we passion people, animals and nature. These add up to our surroundings and we are all highly affected by them. To us architecture means a responsibility for the society. Both functionally, visually, and environmentally. Together with all the other architects out there our task and role is to add value within each projects boundaries. We have to help people make sustainable choices and become more aware of their surroundings for increased life quality.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

We participate in competitions in order to work without too strict boundaries, but still within a given task and a set of goals. Competitions allow us to test and stretch rules to achieve a better solution in the context. It is also a dense amount of work to develop an idea and bring it to life. With competent juries evaluating proposals (preferably anonymous), an independent third party can approve of your professional skills. There is also obviously the possibility of winning a project and building it. Should a proposal not win, it can still be used as a reference. Most of all, it is fun.

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

Our advice to individuals considering architecture competitions is to read the brief and consider if you have the right tools and bodies. Also consider a work method and presentation style that will not be to risky in terms of available hours and economic consequences. Find an idea and develop it. And believe in it. Most importantly, stop before it is too late. Do not deliver a proposal at all costs. You will learn from all processes, even the one`s you abandoned. Leave one behind, move on to the next one.


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