With over 30 years of experience the Danish PLH Arkitekter studio boasts extensive knowledge of the architectural sector and a wide spectrum of skills and know-how and their multidisciplinary approach manages to stimulate an interactive and productive work environment for its talented in-house team. The studio creates a wide range of projects, but consistently manages to follow a common thread that gives life to every single one. We met studio partner Lars Toksvig to find out more.
Can you introduce us briefly to the studio?
I work with PLH architects, a Copenhagen based studio where there are currently about 100 architects. We carry out a wide range of projects from office buildings to private housing and from cultural buildings to schools and infrastructures. At the moment for example we are creating the Copenhagen metro. We try to cover as wide a range as possible but always starting from the same idea.
You are now working on an important cultural project, can you tell us something about it?
The Trelleborg project is a competition we won and it is the new visitor’s centre for the old Viking fortifications in Trelleborg in Slagelse. It’s a heritage Site, a UNESCO site, and we wanted to create a visitor’s centre that respects the area, of course, and which tells the story of this fortification and how it was part of the birth of Denmark. “Trelleborg” is one of the most well preserved Viking-sites in Scandinavia and the fortress is part of a series that the Viking king Harald Bluetooth had constructed to protect his realm. In this area also there was a great battle during the Viking period, and I think these stories need to be told.
You have just won another important competition outside Denmark, haven’t you?
Yes, we were really lucky to have won a competition for Riga’s new Grand Central Station. It’s part of the Big Baltic Rail project which is going to connect the Baltic countries to Poland and the rest of Europe. The Grand Central Station is unique because it may well also be a generator for a new series of parks and urban squares in the area and it can be used to connect the city centre, which is also very exciting. Of course from the architectural point of view we spent a lot of energy in trying to combine elements from Riga’s Art Nouveau Architecture with the new train station.
You create so many different kind of projects: what is the approach to all your work?
We always start with our main purpose which is to improve quality of life, and the way of doing that is create architecture but through responsible design, and responsible design is when you really investigate how people are going to interact with the building, what the culture of the people is and what their activities are. So it’s only then when we really focus before even sketching, it’s actually trying to map exactly and programme the building correctly, because it’s then when you start giving shape to the building.
Here you can watch the video interview