Case Study – arki_lab as an entrepreneur

Andreas MortensenEducation, Research

A group of talented students from the Royal Danish Academy of Architecture studied our work, as a part of their course “PRAKSISFORMER”. The study they made is now published together with other case studies. The students used our collaboration with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art as an entry point to understand our citizen involvement methods and also to understand arki_lab as an entrepreneur.

In order to enable the students get a better insight into our working culture, we invited them to work in our little office, so they could experience the dynamics in real life. For 6 weeks we had the five students being a part of our small laboratory.

“PRAKSISFORMER” is aimed at strengthening the students’ critical sense through qualitative methods, interviews and research. It is focused on students getting to work with architects who are political activist and are driven by strong values. We were very happy to be selected as on of the cases because we were able to present a different approach in the architect profession.

In their report, the students explain a shift in architecture in Denmark that has changed the focus from sole physical quality of buildings to be aimed at user involvement. Consequently, User-driven and democratic processes is something that is being slowly more and more recognized and implemented in the planning process, and that is the very reason that made arki_lab an interesting case study for KADK students.

Studying very closely our working process, the students go through the methods we applied in the Louisiana collaboration “the architecture around us”, and give new perspectives and thoughts about our approaches. In the end the students conclude the report by explaining our methods and how it´s difficult to measure the value of it:

“The democratic process strives on educating active citizens who are critical and reflective towards the architectural process. The value of the democratic methods is also about personal experience. A value that it is hard to measure”.

This last quote is particularly valuable for us, as it shows the students have fully grasped our core values and concerns. The quote illustrates one of our constant conversation topics, and brings up an issue that we always try to clarify even more: what is the real value in involvement? Is it worth it many ask?

We believe the influence of people should not be limited only to the very first stages of design. Participation is not an irrelevant checkbox, to cross off before continuing with the actual work. And even though being the advocate of citizen is not an easy task to undertake, it is certainly worth it.

We at arki_lab, see this on so many different levels. on the smallest scale, in our school projects and during our teaching sessions, we see how important it is for kids when their ideas are being respected. We see how they gradually learn to speak up and create the living environment they dream about. This is a real value in our eyes.

On a larger scale, in our various research and involvement projects, we see how people approach their living environment differently when they know they have a voice in creating their cities. And these are only some of the few things that keep us going. Even though we are completely aware that these values are not easy to measure.

Thanks to the students from the Royal Academy for their great work and for some awesome days here at our office with them.

Thanks to ‪#‎thedanishartfoundation‬‬‬ ‪#‎kunstfond‬‬‬ ‪#‎huskunstnerordningen‬‬‬


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