Closer Look: How Connected Architecture Is Reshaping Sustainability
Visit Copenhagen-based architectural firm EFFEKT for the inside story on their approach to innovation.
At FedEx, we celebrate the ideas and innovations that connect people and possibilities around the world. That includes the work of Copenhagen-based architectural firm EFFEKT, featured in “A Day in the Life of a Connected City.” The firm’s recent design for a treetop walkway has received widespread attention from global media, including Time magazine. Access recently sat down with partners Sinus Lynge (above, with architect Alexis Anderson) and Tue Foged to hear more about that and other projects — and how the philosophies behind them promise a new level of connectivity and sustainability around the world.
ACCESS: Congratulations on “The Treetop Experience,” the nearly 2,000-foot-long walkway built at Camp Adventure near Copenhagen. How did the design take shape?
Tue Foged: We were inspired by the thought of giving people a unique opportunity to experience the old, beautiful and pristine forests — without destroying the fragile microclimate in the forest bed. Nature is just there — you don’t question its design, you just enjoy observing it. In that sense, our goal was to allow people to experience those moments while slowly ascending though the canopies. Therefore, we designed the shape of the path and tower simply responding to — and respecting — the existing trees and landscape. The path bends and slopes around trees, slowly ascending though the canopies. The tower is shaped like a double helix and curves in, in the middle, around the canopies. This simple gesture stages the forest and its perfect natural beauty.
ACCESS: Considering a project’s impact is a big part of your firm’s philosophy. Explain that.
Sinus Lynge: EFFEKT — the name of our company — basically means “impact” in Danish. And we chose that name because we want to investigate the impact of architecture and the impact of urban planning on the world around us. In every project, we measure the social impact and the environmental impact, as well as the economic impact. So, that’s how we see if our projects are successful.
ACCESS: Tell us about a residential project or two you’re working on now — and why you decided to pursue them.
S.L.: The past few years, we’ve been looking into how we feed the big cities in the world. Half of the population of the world is living in big cities. We’re using 41 percent of the surface of the world for food production, we’re spending 70 percent of the world’s fresh water on food production, and more than 40 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions come from food production. So, we have a giant machine trying to produce enough food for the world and still we have one-seventh of the population starving.
One of the projects we’re doing is a project called ReGen Villages in the Netherlands, which is an idea to make a self-sufficient community that will supply its own food, its own energy and its own water.
Another project we’re working on that’s similar to ReGen Villages is a community in Denmark called Helsinge Garden City. It’s a project for 700 homes that will be completely self-sufficient with food production, energy and water, as well as waste management.
ACCESS: It’s a fascinating way to look at connected living. What’s the impact you’re ultimately hoping for?
S.L.: This is kind of a new model for the sharing economy but also a circular economy. One of the great potentials of architecture is that it combines technical solutions with what you might call “social implementation.” So, something like eating locally — most people want that, but how do you make it easy and how do you make it attractive? It’s by integrating it into the way you live. You can’t force people to live in a sustainable way. But if you enable them to eat locally through the way they live, that’s quite attractive.
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