It could be surmised that, with the Scandinavian wilderness as a primary backdrop for one’s work, great care need not be taken to achieve a beautiful end result. But for Reiulf Ramstad, who in 1995 founded RRA—his namesake firm, which currently employs more than 20 professionals—the easy way out has never quite been a satisfying-enough solution.
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Leveraging conceptual research to create structures which enhance landscapes—as opposed to obscuring them—RRA has long elected to take the road less traveled. (Consider its Trollstigen Visitor Centre as a literal example of this in practice.) And notwithstanding RRA’s international renown, the firm recognizes the value of self-awareness and reflection. RRA’s current inclusion in a retrospective called “In the World of an Architect: Reiulf Ramstad Architects,” on view at Denmark’s Utzon Center through May 26, may have been a catalyst for this timely contemplation.
“Our conclusion of our aptitude is that we need to confront every building project, every architecture project as something special—not [just] as serial design,” Ramstad says. “We always try to open up and explore different sides of our practice by trying to work and find uniqueness in all the projects we are dealing with.”
This approach has resonated with—and can perhaps be attributed, in part to—the firm’s successes. But the retrospective isn’t RRA’s only recent accolade. In December 2018, German publishing house Hatje Cantz Verlag released Contours and Horizons, its second monograph with RRA (the first, Selected Works, was published in 2013).
“The book is not only a review of our projects—it’s also a reflection of the situation we are operating in and the reality within it,” Ramstad says. “Much of this written part is a conversation between bodies who are around much of the damage. We’ve seen a growing interest in communities—that they are getting more conscious about their identity and their local culture. This is also something that we can integrate into our project in the [various] places we work.”
“In the World of an Architect: Reiulf Ramstad Architects” is on view at Denmark’s Utzon Center through May 26.
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