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 Throughout the 20th century, architectural masterminds such as Jørn Utzon, Arne Jacobsen and Johan von Spreckelsen developed a strong identity in Danish architecture, built around an idiom that was minimalist, clean and functional.

Today, these same values continue to permeate the works of Danish architects, and there are still very much at the score of the international brand that Danish architecture has become. However, for Danish architects over the past 20 to 30 years there has been an increased focus on delivering solutions that are not only functional and beautiful, but also sustainable.

The projects included in the exhibition Danish Contemporary Architecture over the categories of Housing, Commercial &Industrial, Health &Learning, Culture and Urban Development – are all examples of contemporary, sustainable architecture by Danish firms. Socially sustainable projects that are programmed for interaction, environmentally sustainable projects that reduce emissions by converting sun, wind and water into energy, and economically sustainable projects, where abandoned buildings and even entire districts are being put to different use which gives as an overview of the talent and diversity of contemporary Danish Architecture.

Not unlike Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale of The Ugly Duckling which eventually turns into a beautiful swan, during the last 30 years Copenhagen has evolved from being a rather sleepy, physically run down and almost bankrupt Scandinavian capital, inhabited mainly by students, unemployed and elderly, to becoming a prosperous Northern European metropolis of well educated urban professionals and families staying in the city instead of moving to a suburb.

 The lecture will touch upon the historical background of how this transformation became possible and show examples of comprehensive planning through the new neighborhoods of Nordhavn and Ørestad as well as the latest new urban spaces and climate action projects.

"Resilience is the ability in a bio-system or a physical body to restore itself or to rebuild itself in a new form after being exposed to a massive external impact. The higher the resilience, the more robust – and the easier the way back to an original or optimized form."

Resilience in the development of cities, buildings and landscapes is the most important agenda of our time. This is why we need robust and flexible strategies, which can adapt to constant changes and future realities.

Resilient design is not a response to catastrophe but a firm belief that approaching global challenges with an open and playful mindset, we can unfold the potential for robust and durable solutions.

Resilient design is not the solution to all global challenges but rather a set of strategies to address today’s problems and the crisis of tomorrow, as well as an approach to the structural issues behind those challenges, problem, and crisis.

On 25 September 2015 at the UN summit in New York, heads of government from all over the world passed an unprecedentedly ambitious agenda, which between then and 2030 would pave the way for more sustainable development for both us as human beings and the planet we inhabit.
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture Design & Conservation (KADK) shares that ambition. Architects and designers possess precisely the professional creative and innovative skills needed to create the new products, solutions and strategies and drive a positive development on both the local and global levels. So, in summer 2016 KADK decided to lead the way and devote three academic years to work on the UN Global Goals.

What is the potential for architecture and building design arising from new materials?

How through upcycling of second-hand materials a new value can be created for building design?

Can innovative structures as timber reciprocal frame bending active assemblies make a difference to disaster-struck areas where materials are limited and scarce?

What are the sustainable, performative and aesthetic potentials?

How can inter- and cross-disciplinary collaborations lead to innovations impacting architecture and society?

The questions are explored through architecture and building design examples of built projects, developed prototypes and research investigations. These include research projects exploring Shelter and Architecture, Circular challenge through mycelium materials, Design for Disassembly building facades, ReciPlyDome and ReciPlySkin bending active dome structures as well as architectural examples of re-use of materials offering a distinct aesthetic.

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