We are all currently facing a need and a desire to shift towards a more sustainable future. This presents considerable challenges but also a great deal of potential.
The cities we build and live in will need to be not only greener and more efficient in terms of resources and consumption, but also easier, more enjoyable and inspiring for those that live and work there. New solutions to today’s challenges must be sustainable in terms of three different dimensions; economically, socially and environmentally.
Finansparken (The Financial Park) in Stavanger, strongly embodies the values that can be gained when decision makers in our industry choose to focus on sustainability and innovation. By realising Northern Europe’s largest timber constructed commercial building, the client, SR Bank, has realised a leading example of green urban development. The project shows to the building industry as a whole, just how environmentally conscious solutions can be successfully implemented to create a more sustainable form of development.
In the same city, Vindmøllebakken housing community has been recently realised. The project is based on a new form of housing model – Gaining by Sharing – where sustainability is once again considered from not only a physical point of view in terms of architecture and infrastructure, but also where the social needs and desires of the future residents are equally valued, to strive to create a sustainable neighbourhood. Vindmøllebakken aims to innovate through an infrastructure of sharing and community to ultimately create social, environmental, economic and architectural gains for the residents and the wider community.
Exemplar projects are critical for creating change in the construction industry. But what does it take for both the general public and the professionals to demand and strive towards innovation and improvement?
Randi is an architect and a managing director of Helen & Hard. Having worked at the company since 2011, Randi has been directly involved with many of the studio’s wide ranging projects. These have included creative experimental installations, large scale public cultural buildings, housing and masterplanning schemes. Throughout many of the projects Randi has worked closely with the aspects of social sustainability and user adaptation. This focus echoes the wider interests of Helen & Hard Architects in creating sustainable architecture, from both an environmental and also a social stand point. The physical expression and qualities of the architecture is always considered simultaneously with the users of the projects and how they will be experienced and enjoyed by residents and visitors. This architectural approach stems also from the companies appreciation and interest in timber as a truly sustainable construction material with a unique tectonic potential.