Aabenraa Psychiatric Hospital in exhibition on architecture that creates value

14 March, 2017

White’s model of Aabenraa Psychiatric Hospital is featured in the exhibition “Architecture and Design that adds value” which takes place in Copenhagen 14 March – 28 April 2017.


Aabenraa Psychiatric Hospital is a good example of the impact architecture can have on people and how we are affected both physically and mentally by our surroundings. Only two years after opening, evaluations show that the building has had a positive effect on patients; they feel more comfortable and act out less.

White’s design concept for Aabenraa Psychiatric Hospital was to create spatial sequences in the human scale to support patients’ treatment.

The exhibition is organised by the Danish Association of Architectural Firms and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation.

Visit the exhibition at Industriens House, H. C. Andersens Boulevard 18, Copenhagen.

By: Rickard Andersson

Published: 14 March, 2017

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Monica von Schmalensee talks value based design at MIPIM 2017

13 March, 2017

Hi Monica,

You’ll be taking centre stage to present at a seminar on innovative urbanisation in Sweden at this year’s MIPIM Conference in Cannes. The focus is on how Sweden is unique in combining innovation and sustainability in its growth.

Monica von Schmalensee_Foto Fredrik Hjerling_hi res

Can you tell us a little about what you’ll be sharing with the audience?
I will give the architect’s perspective on innovative urbanisation and talk about White’s urban planning approach ‘value based design’, an approach that will help the client make better decisions and us as architects to define urban qualities.

So what does value based design entail?
The guiding principles to value based design are held together through a holistic view of sustainability, from environmental to social. We think long term, generations rather than financial quarters, and to succeed we must listen to the people a space or a building is meant for during the design process.

How do you bring the different principles together in an urban design?
The key – and goal – is to create democratic urban public places. You could say that democratising architecture and culture is a driving force in urban development. In Sweden we don’t innovate for the sake of creativity, but to create a better society for everyone.

Read more about the seminar here.

By: Rickard Andersson

Published: 13 March, 2017

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Monica von Schmalensee to judge New London Awards 2017

9 February, 2017

White Arkitekter’s CEO Monica Von Schmalensee will participate as a judge on the international expert jury for the New London Awards 2017.

Recognising the very best in architecture, planning and development in the UK capital, the New London Awards considers both built and unbuilt projects. The international jury looks at projects’ architectural and design qualities as well as their impact on the surroundings and wider contribution to London.

Other invited to the international jury are David J Burney, Professor of Planning and Placemaking at Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Dominique Alba of Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme, Riccardo Marini of Gehl Architects, Peter Murray of New London Architecture and David Taylor, editor of the New London Quarterly.

This is the fifth year in a row Monica has been asked to share her expertise as a judge for the awards.

By: Rickard Andersson

Published: 9 February, 2017

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White Arkitekter’s Sander Schuur wins “Architecture of the Year” for STHLMNYC

7 February, 2017

The annual gala “Årets Rum” (Room of the Year) praises architects and designers for influential and creative work. Sander Schuur, architect at White, and Linda Schuur are the winners in the “Architecture of the Year” category for their work with STHLMNYC.

STHMLNYC – founded and directed by the two architects – is a platform for collaboration between Stockholm and New York City to discuss and formulate a future urban environment that is adaptive to uncertainties of the future. The non-profit organiation brings people together to learn, to discuss, and to influence the future of our cities.

The jury, which consisted of Rahel Belatchew Lerdell and the editors-in-chief of Swedish publications Rum, Rum Hemma, Nya Rum and Rum Design, stated:

“The future of architecture faces similar challenges around the world. Sharing knowledge across borders is a prerequisite for rapidly achieving sustainable development. STHLMNYC is an initiative by two architects who have successfully managed to mobilise the industry in Stockholm and New York and have consistently shown that bridges can be built despite great physical distance.”

– We are grateful and proud to win the “Architecture of the Year” award and that the value of two cities working together for a positive urban development is getting attention. It’s great that the internationalisation of Swedish architecture is placed higher on the agenda and that it is also a focus area for the Government, says Sander Schuur.

Realisation of the tremendous potential of collaboration led Linda and Sander to initiate STHLMNYC in 2014. At the time, no platform existed that would enable such a collaboration to promote and share Swedish urban design and architecture. Now, after three years of testing new formats of various programs, STHLMNYC has found its form for taking the next step; to start new initiatives to further develop and impact the future.

Sander also continues his work as an architect at White Arkitekter.

By: Rickard Andersson

Published: 7 February, 2017

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White’s parking garage that moonlights as a sledding slope is a finalist in ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards ’17

1 February, 2017

ArchDaily’s readers have selected ‘Stadsberget’ in Piteå, Sweden, as one of the five finalists in the Public Architecture category in the ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards ’17.

‘Stadsberget’ (Swedish for ‘City Mountain’) was designed by White Arkitekter in collaboration with Henning Larsen Architects and has become a unique meeting place and tourist attraction in the city centre.

The talk of the town is not the 228 new parking spaces, but that the garage serves as an amphitheatre and meeting place in the summer and – to local children’s delight – a sledding slope in winter.

ArchDaily’s readers whittled 3,000 projects down to 80 finalists in the competition’s 16 different categories. Atelier du Pont and Luís Pedro Silva Arquitecto are among the other finalists in the Public Architecture category.

The winner is announced on 7 February 2017. Vote here.

Stadsberget PIteå, White Arkitekter

White’s refurbishment of Cirkus, Skandiascenen was nominated in the Cultural Architecture category and Johanneberg Science Park and Bråtejordet Skole in the Educational Architecture category.

By: Rickard Andersson

Published: 1 February, 2017

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White Arkitekter shortlisted for new faculty of arts at Warwick University

17 January, 2017

White Arkitekter is among five teams competing in the final round for an ‘architecturally outstanding’ £33 million faculty of arts at Warwick University in Coventry, UK.

The two-stage RIBA-organised competition invited ‘innovative and insightful teams with exceptional creative skills’ to submit proposals for the new landmark building.

The winning design will bring together eight departments at the university currently spread across two separate buildings and will replace an existing car park near the main library and students union.

RIBA adviser Cindy Walters of Walters & Cohen alongside members of the university’s senior leadership team and leading departmental academics made up the judging panel.

Foster + Partners, Grimshaw, WilkinsonEyre and FCBS also made the shortlist. The winning multidisciplinary design team will be announced on 1 February.

Read more in the AJ

By: Rickard Andersson

Published: 17 January, 2017

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Take a virtual tour through the Eyes of Runavik

13 January, 2017

New app shows a 3D version of White arkitekter’s winning project Eyes of Runavik in The Faroe Islands. In June 2016 White arkitekter was announced as one of the six regional winners of the Nordic Built Cities Challenge. Now Nordic Built Cities and Playsign have collaborated on a virtual app that takes you through the […]

New app shows a 3D version of White arkitekter’s winning project Eyes of Runavik in The Faroe Islands.

In June 2016 White arkitekter was announced as one of the six regional winners of the Nordic Built Cities Challenge. Now Nordic Built Cities and Playsign have collaborated on a virtual app that takes you through the projects and the sights. Navigate through the magnificent and challenging landscape of Runavik and explore the architecture White arkitekter has proposed for the steep terrain in The Faroe Islands.

Link to the web based app.
The web based app is desktop only (Firefox or Chrome are recommended browsers).

Link to the mobile app.

The app is also available for Android mobile devices from Play Store.

The Eyes of Runavik


The Eyes of Runavik

By: Ina Gouliaev

Published: 13 January, 2017

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Visualisation Research: Take a walk inside a 3D interior

13 January, 2017

Architect Tarek Adhami at White’s Örebro office previously worked in the Entertainment industry as a 3D concept artist. This inspired him to create a three dimensional visualisation of an interior space, which he published using Sketchfab. Have a look!

Hi there, Tarek Adhami! Can you tell us a bit more about the project idea?

Sometimes architecture can be complicated to describe to the general public using 2D images only. So as an architect who works as a visualiser, I feel that it is time to start representing our work more interactively and three dimensionally through the resources that already exist out there.

The idea is based on the fact that we already draw most of our designs in the form of 3D models, so why don’t we just deliver these models rather than taking pictures of them? It’s like live examining a sculpture inside an exhibition instead of just looking at the photos. I believe that such a delivery adds more value to our work, as well as minimises uncertainties around what a project will look like.

There is similar ongoing work within White’s departments Digital Design & BIM, Dsearch and White View. It is important to note that White View has also done an interactive presentation in the past using a gaming engine.

When I worked for the entertainment industry my job as a concept artist was to design virtual 3D sets for the project directors to enable them to walk around inside these virtual sets. Everything needed to look perfect from multiple angles. The prototype I am working on now is going to be compatible with virtual reality devices and should be ready in the beginning of 2017.


The tutorial has also been published on the online architecture publication ArchDaily.

By: Rickard Andersson

Published: 13 January, 2017

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White Arkitekter appointed to redevelop Saint Augustine’s Church in Colindale

28 November, 2016

The Diocese of London (DoL) has appointed White Arkitekter to redevelop and unlock opportunities on one of its key sites, located at the heart of the Grahame Park Regeneration Scheme, Colindale, in the London Borough of Barnet. The rest of the Grahame Park Regeneration is delivered by Genesis Housing Association in partnership with London Borough of Barnet.

The mixed-use redevelopment will be housing-led, the residential element funding the delivery of a modern church, hall, ancillary spaces and vicarage to meet the spiritual and social needs and work of a new thriving parish. As well as a spiritual centre, the new development will form a new cultural and social hub for the whole area; a community facility for the benefit of all faiths and none, while being unmistakably and unapologetically a church, a centre of Christian worship. To activate the public realm the development will include non-residential uses that will complement the church and housing. At least one of the residential units will be retained by the church to house community workers on lower incomes. The approximately 6500 sq m scheme with its active street frontage will benefit the area by providing a quality public realm that will create a vibrant new piazza at the heart of Grahame Park.
Working closely with DoL and the local community over the coming months, White Arkitekter will develop concept designs to assess the capacity, height, scale and massing, potential mix and distribution of land uses, landscape and public realm options. Close consultation is vital to ensure the new development is appropriately integrated into the burgeoning neighbourhood of Colindale.


Tony Moseley, Programme Manager, The Diocese of London, said:

“We are very pleased to have White Arkitekter on board. This project requires great sensitivity to respect the needs of the existing community whilst celebrating the changes that the regeneration of Grahame Park Estate will bring. We chose White Arkitekter because they emphasize dialogue, and focus on how people use and come together in spaces and places in their design practice. The mix of uses on a tight site is challenging, White Arkitekter brings great expertise in getting beneath the surface of a project, identifying the qualities of a place and working creatively within the constraints of a site.”


Revd Dr Joseph Gabor, Minister in Charge, St Augustine’s, Grahame Park, said:

“Building a brand new church is, literally, a ‘sacred’ challenge and an opportunity to relearn who we are and what are we doing. For me, as pastor of the community and as a theologian, this is an opportunity to learn a new language and with White Arkitekter it promises to be a fascinating dialogue and a mutual learning. A good building recognises the past and the redevelopment must embed the faithful worship of generations of residents of Grahame Park. This personal presence is a guiding principle for designing a church in our tradition.”


White Arkitekter said:

“This project is a unique opportunity to create a place where everyone in the community is welcome. It is an honour for us to work with St Augustine’s Church to help them realise their vision for the site as a hub of the community. We envision a beautiful place, a retreat from hectic city life and the digital world. Today, arguably more than ever, churches continue to be the lifeline of any society, providing a welcoming space and diverse public services to the surrounding communities. Our Scandinavian design heritage is rooted in the idea of creating inclusive places which promote and sustain well-being. The church aligns with this sentiment and it will play a vital role in anchoring the community during a period of transition as the Grahame Park Estate is redeveloped, attracting newcomers to the area.”


Published: 28 November, 2016

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Habitat III – the power of cities for global transformation

3 November, 2016

Cities are at the forefront of sustainable development and are often more progressive than nations. This was again in focus in Quito 17-20 October at Habitat III, the third UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development which attracted more than 30 000 visitors. The “New Urban Agenda” was adopted pointing out the importance of our […]

Cities are at the forefront of sustainable development and are often more progressive than nations. This was again in focus in Quito 17-20 October at Habitat III, the third UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development which attracted more than 30 000 visitors. The “New Urban Agenda” was adopted pointing out the importance of our rapidly urbanizing cities to develop in a way that suits both people and planet. Our role as architects, urban planners and designers, is to work as practitioners in a specific physical location to make this sustainable development happen.

The New Urban Agenda, Global Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement

Over the course of about one year, three important agreements have been adopted: the New Urban Agenda, The Sustainable Development Goals (also called Global Goals or Agenda 2030) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change agreed at COP21. Since more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas and cities account for 70 % of global GDP as well as global GHG emissions, the role of cities is crucial for reaching goals in all three of these agreements.

What is Habitat III and the “New Urban Agenda”? 

The New Urban Agenda (NUA) is an internationally negotiated document that calls for compact cities, polycentric growth, mixed-use streetscapes, prevention of sprawl and transit-oriented development. The document is action oriented and aims to set global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development. The ambition is to rethink the way we build, manage and live in cities through cooperation with partners, stakeholders and urban actors at all levels of government as well as the private sector.

White’s participation is part of our continued work towards sustainable cities and our commitment to Global Goals, reflected in our strategic plan.

We were represented by Ulrika Stenkula, Viktoria Walldin and Johan Dahlberg (pictured below).
IMG_3209 (1)

Some reflections:

  • Urban land is growing faster than population i.e. urban areas are becoming less dense, globally.
  • We have to tread carefully in the new digital age and need to ensure that new technologies are used to break urban segregation.
  • Modernistic ideals from the 20th century have to be replaced by human centered planning
  • Collaboration is key. Collaboration between different disciplines in our field of practice but also between researchers, policymakers and practitioners. Between cities. Between different groups in society.

Urbanization – conflicts and new perspectives

This topic of urbanization was of course prominent in seminars and in the exhibition. One interesting fact that was brought up during a seminar organized by London School of Economics (LSE) is that urban land is growing faster than population growth. This has different implications but one is that, globally, cities are expanding even though about half of them have adopted compact agendas. The drivers for urbanization differ greatly. In Europe, growth of urban land happens primarily because of economic growth and increased wealth while in other parts of the world it’s mainly because of population growth, for example migration.

“If cities have inequalities accumulated over time and you put rational market logic on top of that, the market will reproduce the inequality” – Karen Seto, Yale

Digitalization for everyone

Digitalization has been discussed in both a broad context and in detail with practical examples) Learnings from earlier technological breakthroughs have taught us that we have to make sure that the benefits of new technologies are equally shared in society. In a seminar on Smart Cities, Victor Vegara, from the World Bank, said that “A smart city can’t be unfair. A smart city can’t be poor. If a smart city only benefits the rich, it’s not smart”. World-wide, only a third of the population has access to the internet. Will new ways of collecting, analyzing and visualizing data only increase the gap between those with access and those without or can they be used as a driver for equity in cities?

During the same seminar, Gary Fowlie also discussed the use of data, saying that “Economic theory is fine as long as everything stays the same… We have always used data to make decisions. The challenge now is that it comes from many sources and the more data you have, the harder it is to take it and make useful knowledge … More data is not necessarily what we need. Smarter data is.”

 Human centered planning and poverty reduction

Often discussed at the seminars of Habitat III was the fact that cities are for people. The cities that were developed during the 20th century largely departed from modernistic ideals. Richard Sennet from NY University described it well during Urban Talks around the Athens charter developed by le Corbusier in the 1930’s: “[The idea that] a city can be organized like a beautiful machine is a modernist dream of efficiency. Today that dream has turned into a nightmare”. Joan Clos, Director of UN Habitat, pointed out that “the plan does not make the city. What makes the city is the interaction.” Together with Ricky Burdett, LSE and Saskia Sassen, Columbia university, they put forward the “Quito papers” as a reaction to the Athens Charter which they claim is responsible for today’s isolated tower blocks which are disconnected from the surrounding city. In their vision cities are “porous”, “complex”, “synchronous” and “incomplete”.

While these four come from a strong academic point of view, their ideas raise questions that are relevant for our everyday practice. What cities are we building? Who are we building them for? What ideals form our thinking of what a city is? And how much can you plan for in a city?


The panel on research and practice

Habitat X Change pavilion, organized by the International Council for Science, Future Earth and the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, created a collaborative space connecting science, visualization and design for the future of cities. Together with the Minister of Housing Peter Eriksson and Executive Director C40 and others, Ulrika Stenkula took part in a panel when Future Earth’s Urban Knowledge-Action Network was launched. The ambition with the Urban KAN is to bring together researchers, policymakers and practitioners to co-produce the knowledge needed for sustainable cities.

According to Peter Eriksson:

  • it’s important to implement the New Urban Agenda particularly in the context of the UN SDG’s. To achieve these goals, we need science to guide decision makers
  • we need collaboration between researchers, local and federal governments, international science-policy fora, civil society and the private sector.

Ulrika emphasized the importance of new business models to implement sustainable development on regional or real estate level.

What the New Urban Agenda implies for our Swedish context will be explored further on December 16th at Global Utmaning’s day seminar: Nordic Urban Ways – Implementing the New Urban Agenda at ArkDes. We will get back with more information about that.


Published: 3 November, 2016

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