STHLMNYC brings the Swedish and American architectural industries closer

This Friday some of us at White are heading to New York with a crew of other Swedes to meet our counterparts in the USA. Just like last year, we will all meet under the initiative STHLMNYC at the annual Architectural festival Archtober. This year’s topic for the seminar is Innovative Solutions for the Future Housing Challenge. We had a chat with Sander Schuur, Architect at White and one of the guys behind the initiative.


Tell us a little bit about STHLMNYC?

STHLMNYC – Stockholm New York City – is a platform for collaboration between Stockholm and New York to discuss and formulate a future urban environment that is adaptive to uncertainties of the future. STHLMNYC includes all professions involved in shaping our cities, such as architects, urban planners, policymakers, developers and academia, to ensure an inclusive and successful conversation. We see great potential in knowledge exchange and collaboration between Stockholm and New York as both cities face very similar challenges, but differ in their approach. A certain boldness, high ambition and pride from New York combined with a thoughtfulness, inclusiveness and equitable processes from Stockholm will lead to new successful strategies for the future.

As a former New Yorker, what would you say is the difference between the architectural industry in New York and Scandinavia?

I am not sure I can call myself a former New Yorker having lived just three years in New York. However, it seems that three years in New York equals at least the double amount of time elsewhere. Life in New York is so much more intense and always pushing new innovative development. Architecture in New York is driving the project to the highest possible level, while in Scandinavia architecture focuses on people, ensuring quality for every individual. Scandinavian architecture can be characterized by its inclusive process that drives equitable urban development. 

What do you hope will come out of this seminar this Friday?

STHLMNYC starts, engages, and enables a conversation and encourages a continuing dialogue between participants and between the cities of Stockholm and New York at large. Our goal is to start a conversation that will continue and lead to successful collaboration and ultimately to sustainable urban environments that are adaptive for the future as sustainability promotes adaptive capacity.

Last question, what is your favorite building in New York and why?

Rem Koolhaas described in his book Delirious New York how the homogeneity of the grid forces every building into fighting for its identity. New York is a context that pushes its architecture. The Highline is a perfect example of a project that became so over-iconic, but intentionally was not more than an attempt to preserve the elevated train tracks. For me, New York City is what makes the architecture – the place and the energy and diversity of the population. It is always about people.

Read more:


From Sweden:
KTH, Milou Group, Okidoki, Stockholm Stad, Tengbom, Urban Minds, Vasakronan and White Arkitekter.

From USA:
ARExA, DCP, DDC, Doberman, Heinz Endowments, HPD, IBI Group – Gruzen Samton Architects, Plastarc and SHoP.