Danish architecture practice Henning Larsen has opened an exhibition at Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin, with the efforst of addressing the industry’s outsized environmental impact.
The exhibition, titled Changing Our Footprint, has opened to the public on 4 February 2023 and will be on view until 22 March 2023 at Aedes Architecture Forum, Berlin, Germany.
The exhibition presents Henning Larsen’s small but scalable steps to move towards a desirable future through its built projects, research, testing, and continuous learning the office is conducting.
Presented with a theme of “rolling out the sketch paper”, Henning Larsen aims to create an interactive and engaging dialogue throughout the exhibition, bringing difficult questions and collaborating to find better solutions, and continuously weighing the scope of impact.
Designed to offer a creative dialogue in the exhibition, Henning Larsen will also host a series of panel debates at Aedes Architecture Forum from Wednesday, 22nd February to Tuesday, 14th March.
Panel discussions will bring together key experts and stakeholders to the stage to frame and debate the challenges, solutions and innovations on the topics of water management, adaptive reuse, biomass and timber construction.
“Henning Larsen is a company with a long history. We are founded on curiosity and a promise to share what we know with others,” said Louis Becker, Global Design Principal, Henning Larsen.
“And so, this exhibition is our attempt to be transparent and open-source,” Becker added.
The exhibition is divided into two sections: “Share” and “Explore”. The exhibition is shaped around a central approach that aims to share knowledge and explore biobased materials and new tools in the architectural process.
In this context, the office emphasized that “the exhibits, including projects, materials and learnings, are not meant to be the final answer but rather a response to the questions faced by the industry at this moment in time, continuing to evolve as new solutions are tested.”
“As a company we are very experienced within architecture, but we are on a journey to develop our position, and this exhibition is an acceleration of change,” said Louis Becker, Global Design Principal, Henning Larsen.
“For years we have worked full steam ahead focusing a lot on aesthetics, and now we are revisiting and rethinking the way we work.”
“As sustainability becomes the main design driver, the buildings blocks of our industry are changing. But we still have much to learn, and unlearn, as we reshape our industry’s outsized environmental impact.”
“Facing up to this footprint can be anxiety-provoking. But it also holds a wealth of opportunities. The perspective of opportunities has led us to embark upon the explorative and collaborative journey of changing our footprint,” Becker added.
For instance, the Share room presents “Unboxing Carbon”, an introductory course which provides knowledge and tools to calculate embodied CO2 for building materials.
When visitors stepping inside the carbon box, this section allows the visitors to explore, sense and understand the materials used in the industry and their footprint.
In addition, visitors can take part in an “unboxing carbon” workshop by laying out the materials on display from good to bad. It features a large table to provide the setting for collaboration and discussion.
Building communities and projects which share resources, such as cities, nature, water, our communities and our common “raw material bank”, are among other exhibits.
As a general layout, the exhibition prioritizes open-source information, Henning Larsen’s wood and bio-based material publication “Plant a Seed” is on display and can be downloaded for free, as well as the Unboxing Carbon Catalogue.
The Unboxing Carbon Catalogue collects architectural materials and presents complex data from Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in a visually accessible and readily understandable way.
On the other hand, the “Explore” section considers the development and practical use of different biobased materials such as wood, straw, eelgrass, mycelium, reused bricks, low carbon concrete, and clay.
Besides, this section also focuses on specific topics such as transformation, design for disassembly, 3d printing, acoustics and indoor climate that are investigated in greater detail.
Among the new digital tools to interact with, including the Urban DeCarb app, which can calculate and inform planners on carbon impact on an urban scale.
“Our hope for this exhibition is to open a discussion about a new aesthetic in our built environment, where we are more open to new expressions, surfaces and textures, we hold a curiousness and a willingness to explore how to avoid waste material and build sustainably,” said Nina la Cour Sell, Design Director, Henning Larsen.
“As well as celebrating coming back to the materials, the textures, the hands-on experiences through new digital tools and processes, which we thought would distance us from architecture.”
“We exhibit projects of all scale from around the world. Many of the tools and methods we develop and test need testing in a small scale and ‘close to home’, but all our exhibited objects and ideas have the potential to be scaled up, which is an absolute necessity for its’ relevance for the field – and in most cases this scale-up is already underway,” Nina la Cour Sell added.
Henning Larsen said that “the stage itself is a manifestation of Henning Larsen’s central ambition to create a space of accountability and learning.”
“Built of various ready-to-use floor, wall and ceiling materials, the stage exhibits the materials by ranking them according to their Global Warming Potential, or the amount of carbon equivalents, associated with the production phases of their lifecycles.”
See the panel program on Aedes’ website.
Henning Larsen was founded by Danish architect Henning Larsen, who died in 2013.
Henning Larsen is an international studio for architecture, landscape, and urbanism with design hubs in Copenhagen, New York, Hong Kong, Munich, and Oslo.
Henning Larsen’s design philosophy is based on the play of light and nature.
The studio recently won a competition to design a new church for Denmark’s capital, which will be Copenhagen’s first new church in over 30 years built in wood. The firm transformed an old Swedish town hall with light-lit inner courtyard covered by a striking dome-shaped glass roof in Uppsala, Sweden.
All images © Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST.
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