"It is about a Nordic way of looking at the world, how we are close to nature, how we live and how we interact and have respect for each other," explains Henning Larsen's CEO, Mette Kynne Frandsen. She believes that this is an advantage when the company works internationally, where there are more complex urban structures, cities, and buildings to be designed where people can thrive.
"Sustainability is about working with circular solutions, but also about social sustainability where we must take human diversity into account. In the Nordic countries, we take this for granted, but it is not obvious in the world," says Kynne Frandsen, adding that this is precisely the reason why the Nordic and Norwegian projects are used as reference projects around the world. She adds that there are almost no places in the world with a closer connection between architecture and landscape architecture as in Norway, including consideration for how nature is brought into the architecture.
Henning Larsen and Rambøll have merged and thus become a major player, globally as well as in the Norwegian market. Urban and place development is one of the areas where Mette Kynne Frandsen sees great opportunities for the new and expanded architectural team, both by drawing on global expertise and by bringing more regional knowledge and design power into the Norwegian projects.
Henning Larsen has always worked with site-specific architecture based on existing contexts, be it the landscape, the city, or the culture. “As architects, we have a large and important role as possible sparring partners for urban developers, municipalities, and politicians by visualizing projects and drawing on many of the experiences we have from other countries, such as Denmark. There are many common issues cities and urban developers face regardless of location. Together with Rambøll and the new organization of architects, landscape architects, and planners, we can be a good partner for both public and private developers," says Mette Kynne Frandsen.
The interplay between nature and landscape, as well as cities and culture, is especially important in Norway, Frandsen points out, and explains that Norway is a diverse and distinctive country with spectacular nature and small and medium-sized cities that are spread over an elongated country, where local and regional affiliation is important.
"Norway, like most other countries, will be hit harder and harder by extreme weather, and how we plan for good cities and robust environments adapted to the climate is important. Creating environments where people can meet in a safe environment all year round while experiencing the rich nature Norway offers is one of our most important tasks, where we are now further strengthened by Ramboll's expertise," says Mette Kynne Frandsen.
In recent years, attention to social sustainability has increased. From previously focusing primarily on how to optimize a building's climate and energy usage, the focus is now shifting more and more to how buildings and physical urban spaces affect both humans and nature, as well as how this leads to increased well-being and improved health.
Henning Larsen's CEO talks about the people in the city center and uses the term "WELL Community" as an example of how the architectural firm brings cutting-edge expertise into the integration with Rambøll. "WELL community" is a new global standard for describing an inclusive, flexible local environment with a high degree of social engagement.
"We have always worked on projects where people are put at the center of creating good meeting places, where we look for added value both for the people who will use what we make and for the developer. Whatever program we are involved in, it is about architecture for people and architecture that is adapted to the context. From this perspective, the new collaboration with Ramboll's broad professional expertise becomes a strength in that we get an even greater scope and can innovate and move boundaries together," says Kynne Frandsen.
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