3XN Architecture

November 20th, 2010

      

Last week, I attended a lecture at the University of Minnesota given by Kim Herforth Neilsen, Principal Architect at 3XN in Copenhagen. The lecture was about “How Architecture Shapes Behavior” and Kim presented a variety of his firm’s work to the audience of professionals and students. The projects were sharp reminders of how different (and conservative) architecture can be in the midwest. One common feature of 3XN’s current designs is the use of a centrally located, feature staircase. Kim explained that stairs are important because they promote communication. When you meet a colleague or friend on the stairs, interaction can occur. Open stairs also allow users to get a sense of the entire interior space. These aspects are not possible when traveling alone from level to level in a closed box that is an elevator. Of course, elevators are necessary for those that are not able to use stairs.  But, how many people use elevators out of convenience, not necessity?

In 2009, the firm implemented one of these grand stairs in Ørestad College. Kim explained that at first, the kids complained about having to use the stairs, but after a couple weeks, they were fit and didn’t mind it so much! This, of course, got many laughs from the audience. But, I sat there thinking ‘He’s serious, people! Designers have the power to stop laziness and promote healthy behavior!”

3XN is also a leader in the use of innovative materials. Not only do they use them, but they create them. What better way to customize a project and meet the client’s needs than by inventing a new substance! I hope Kim’s visit was successful in revitalizing creativity and inspiring his audience to use design to shape healthy human behavior. See more of how 3XN is making people mind their behavior: http://www.3xn.dk/en/.

Anne Klemm for Danish Teak Classics

Photos: http://www.3xn.dk/en/

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