The Mirror House
© Utopia Arkitekter
Working as an architect means that you now and then get the opportunity to play an active part in creating a somewhat better society. Utopia was started with the simple aim of maximising the number of such opportunities.
The basic premise for our work is a simple and well established truth – high quality architecture is more or less always a good long-term investment. One single building can lift a whole area and, in some cases, an entire town. In the best of cases, a bad building goes unnoticed. In the worst of cases it runs the risk of destroying existing values and limiting the opportunities for a positive future development.
The same goes for urban planning. A badly carried-out urban plan can never develop the full potential of an area and provide it with the improvements that are possible with a job well done. Nor can an inadequate plan be made up for by good architecture, no matter how lavish the buildings one has chosen to build. The good plan, in both large and small details, is the basis for the urban environments we create.
The care and thought we choose to devote to the environmental urban environments are decisive factors for what we can create. Equally important are the type and scope of these values.
By good investments we mean, not only the aesthetic qualities for the purchasers and tenants or a better economic profit for the contractor. Naturally both of these things are important, but this is far too narrow a view of what good architecture can and should achieve. This is what happens if you reduce architecture to just one commodity amongst others in a transaction. Seen from a broader, deeper and long-term perspective, high-quality architecture is a good investment in many other ways as well. It can help to create the positive values by which we want the society in which we live to be characterised.
Quality is naturally a broad concept. Exactly how it is defined is a constant subject of ongoing discussion both within and outside of the architectural profession. But we don’t much care about meta-discussions. Instead we focus on what our experience tells us is important and clearly contributes to creating positive values. Applying this to buildings, smart construction plans, good materials, optimal adaptation to the site, sustainability, variety in shape, originality and beauty are all aspects of quality that each play a part in creating large, permanent values.
Originality, innovation and modernity are rarely incorporated in the commission specification, but we value them all extremely highly. Not as aims in themselves but because they are excellent points of departure in our aim for constantly improved solutions.
Architectural quality is the most important single factor when it comes to maximising the value of what you build. And this isn't just about the design of individual buildings. It applies equally to the interior design, the landscaping and the urban planning.
We know that architecture provides enormous opportunities to develop values that can affect our lives positively. Unfortunately these opportunities are quite often wasted. Utopia’s business concept is a direct consequence of this. We want to create the best possible values in the projects we are involved in through high-quality architecture and good planning. Values that extend far beyond the short-term economic ones and the superficial cosmetic ones.