LINK Arkitektur: Building for a better future
By Maria Vole
The award-winning architecture company LINK Arkitektur brings innovation and creativity to its diverse, multifaceted projects. With a philosophy focused on sustainability and adding value to spaces as well as people’s lives, LINK is creating architecture for the future.
With 500 employees spread across 15 cities in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, LINK Arkitektur is one of the world’s 50 largest architecture firms. Combining years of experience, deep industry expertise and a genuine passion for architecture and design, the team behind LINK has won a number of awards for its work.
Throughout all the varied work the company does, a central theme emerges: LINK is always looking ahead to the future. “LINK creates architecture for tomorrow. People live and socialise in the environments we design,” says Grethe Haugland, CEO of the Norway division of LINK Arkitektur. “In all our projects, the vision is to create spaces for better living. We are people-focused and strive to create good environments for the users.”
A focus on sustainability
In the field of architecture, sustainable building practices have long been a key focus. But LINK Arkitektur has taken its passion for sustainable architecture a step further than most. “Sustainability is no longer about having the smallest possible footprint – it’s about achieving the greatest possible effect with the resources you have. Combining ambitious goals for energy and environmental impact with good architecture, good floor plans, and certainly the social aspect, requires top-notch planning tools,” Haugland explains.
In a bid to facilitate positive changes, the architecture firm has developed its own tool: LINK Compass, comprising all the UN sustainable development goals, selecting those that will make the biggest impact in the specific project, and focusing on making it easier to build sustainable architecture.
Diverse, fascinating projects
With ambitious leaders at its helm and a strong team of committed employees, LINK is a productive firm that handles around 2,000 projects per year. Among a wide selection of interesting recent projects, a few stand out.
Architect Per Erik Aadland at LINK Arkitektur created the newly opened Nullmeteroverhavet (‘ZeroMeterAboveSeaLevel’), which aims to allow as many people as possible to enjoy Norway’s stunning coastal landscape without damage to the natural environment. The project has seen small, simple cabins erected along the coast, accessible either by walking through the natural landscape or by kayaking or travelling by a small boat across the water.
Stovnertårnet is another recent project that is important to LINK, having won the title of Norway’s most inclusive innovation project in the category of landscape architecture in 2020. The tower functions as a viewpoint and attracts visitors from Norway and beyond. The idea behind the tower, which is situated on historic ground and embedded into the natural environment around it, is that it should be easily accessible for everyone.
Another exciting recent project was the feasibility study Destination Lauvvik. LINK took on the mission as a result of the tourist interest in the beautiful area of Rogaland, and demonstrated the significant opportunities of positioning Lauvvik as an attractive tourist destination with a low carbon footprint. Utilising the fantastic natural landscape surrounding the area, LINK created a comprehensive plan for destination spots, activities and much more.
Øvre Lynghaugen is a residential building designed by LINK’s Andreas Neumann Meyer. Located in a quiet spot at the top of a popular residential area in Bergen, the house will present a unique, modern expression while blending in well with its surroundings. The architects focused on creating a pleasant dynamic between the new build and the existing houses as well as the dramatic landscape in the surrounding area.
Transforming existing spaces rather than building new
The architects at LINK are very aware of the existing challenges in the field of architecture today, and they are focused on innovation and building a better future. “We believe that we need to build fewer new buildings in the future, and instead we should focus on transforming what already exists, within a sustainability perspective,” Haugland reveals.
“Architecture is about transformation, about changing the context of cities, places or buildings so that they can be preserved and filled with new life; transforming existing buildings and areas to promote better utilisation and new functions, giving old buildings a boost and filling them with new content – a change for the better,” she says.
LINK has plenty of experience with these kinds of transformation projects, which are all about preserving and breathing new life into what we already have, rather than continually adding more buildings to the cityscape. The focus is on re-purposing and re-working rather than tearing down and building anew.
LINK’s key ambition is to create spaces that add value to society and to the people living in and around their spaces. Their architectural philosophy is not just about developing more sustainable solutions, but also about creating better lives for the people inhabiting these spaces.
“We believe that architecture can contribute to solving social issues and challenges, and several LINK projects have led to decreased levels of crime and increased security for residents,” Haugland says.
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