I have recently completed an ultra-marathon of photo-shoots: 28 architectural offices in 28 days, in four capital cities.
It was the Nordic tour normally taken by cruise-ship: Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Helsinki. I was seeking to not only shoot a wide variety of offices, but to better understand architectural offices and how they differ between each country.
To do this, I set out to answer some basic questions. What do architects offices look like? Does each have a distinct atmosphere? Does that reflect something about each company? Or are they all just array of impersonal white boxes?
I leave it to the reader to drawn their own conclusions from this small sample of images; however, I have reached a few of my own. First off, many of these spaces are white, but they needn’t be impersonal or cold. One in Finland had the elegance of a modern art museum, another the minimalist elegance of a gallery. Old recycled spaces were the most appealing to the eye: boat houses, stables, a brewery. Nor is scale necessarily a bad thing.
I visited offices with over a thousand workstations that were exciting, abuzz and seemed better places to be than some of the smaller ones. Overall, I found most of the offices to be places in which teams come together across skill sets brainstorming creative solutions to create projects that are altering the built environment and as such impact the world we live in. It was an amazing process to see at work. And by the end of it I greatly envied these people for doing so! So who wins: Norway, Denmark, Sweden or Finland? Luckily, a photographer need not choose.
Marc Goodwin is an architectural photographer with over a decade of experience in Spain, the UK and Nordic region. His PhD on the subject of architectural photography and atmosphere is currently in review. He is the founder of Archmospheres, Ltd.