OS Arkitekter: Redefining city architecture for an evolving future
By Heidi Kokborg
At OS Arkitekter sustainability is at the heart of everything they do. They are building for an evolving future by introducing flexible and changeable building systems and transforming urban spaces into vibrant, green oases.
“We view architecture and landscape as co-dependent. Sustainability is key. Both in the strategic approach and in the beauty of the detail. We seek a sustainable approach to architecture that also creates a better quality of life and new architectural aesthetics,” say Stine Christiansen and Olmo Ahlmann, founders and owners of Copenhagen-based architecture studio OS Arkitekter.
Turning challenge into resource
“We need to change our immense environmental impact. As architects, this means rethinking the materials we use when building, but equally as important is a new structural approach to the lifespan of buildings and landscapes,” says Ahlmann.
“We need to ensure that what we built is not demolished in the future by making it adaptable to future changes in how we live and work, together with the challenges of climate change. There’s both great value and new-found beauty in this change of mindset,” he adds.
In recent years, we have all felt the consequences of climate change. Across Europe, countries are experiencing warmer and drier summers, and torrential rain often causes severe flooding. But, instead of fighting powers beyond our control, OS Arkitekter is finding ways to utilise and work with these changes.
“We need to create a city fabric, where the greenery is as important as the buildings – designing cities that can sustain the massive downpours and droughts we are experiencing by integrating landscape into cities,” says Ahlmann.
Christiansen agrees: “We are constantly looking at the natural cycles and systems and thinking them into our projects. As architects we have a responsibility to do so, and we need to start rethinking how we connect the grown and the built,” says Christiansen.
Sustainability at the forefront
Whether OS Arkitekter is working on large or smaller-scale architecture projects, the heart of every project is sustainability. Among other things, this means using more timber and other biobased materials, rather than relying on concrete and bricks.
“Architecture has the potential to serve a greater purpose with every project. To work with, and give something back to the site. We have to dare to look at both architecture and the world with new eyes, and make a lasting difference,” say Christiansen and Ahlmann.
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