Per Knudsen Arkitektkontor: Architecture for a lively and ever-evolving city
By Åsa H. Aaberge
“Nordic architecture is, to us, about sensitivity to human nature, to history and our surroundings,” says architect Axel Kristoffersen.
Kristoffersen is the current CEO of Per Knudsen Arkitektkontor (PKA), one of the leading architecture firms in Trondheim. With a history stretching over more than 40 years, PKA is the creator of several architectural monuments in Norway’s third-largest city. Among them are the Dragvoll campus of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and more recently the ongoing project Trondheim Central Station and the notable renovation of the award-winning Britannia Hotell.
“PKA has made a mark on and continues to enhance the city of Trondheim, with projects like the new Trondheim Central Station, Pirbadet and the head offices of the city police, among others. Such purpose-built designs, alongside health premises such as the new children’s hospital in Bergen, university buildings, office spaces and, crucially, housing, constitute the broad array of our portfolio today,” says Kristoffersen.
Imprinted in the DNA of PKA are pillars of sustainability to emphasise the use of natural daylight in every building and create spaces that play a role in empowering a buzzing city. PKA aims to choose lasting materials that evolve to become more beautiful as time passes and buildings age.
Kristoffersen highlights that PKA’s staff, now counting almost 50, has a shared vision of collaborating across planning, designing and creating. Engagement with the communities each project is part of, collaboration and a willingness to empower each other as well as customers, are also important values for PKA.
The firm aims for the buildings it creates and designs to give people a sense of belonging, energy and a feeling of well-being. “A vibrant city evolves according to changing needs. For it to remain, things have to work, and the town needs to evolve. The city must serve its purpose at all hours – streets and urban spaces must be activated through outward-facing and inviting premises at street level,” says Kristoffersen.
He adds that it is essential for PKA that buildings are given flexibility and qualities that make them robust enough to cope with ever-changing needs and technical transformations. “Our aesthetic goal builds on sustainability and an experienced fact: namely that humans take care of a beautiful city and pretty buildings – and to take care, that is the essence of sustainability,” concludes Kristoffersen.
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