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Join our impact team at work

On-site observations and in-depth interviews. It's all part of our impact team's approach when they revisit our completed buildings. And among these is the Bikuben Student Residence in Copenhagen.

Tackling a major issue

As a young practice, back in 2005, we got a 'wild card' to participate in the competition to design the Bikuben Student Residence in Copenhagen. We took on the challenge with great enthusiasm –not just with the aim to shape a building, but to bring architecture into play as a catalyst to counteract loneliness, which, according to reports, was a major issue among students. Based on this social scope, we won the competition and, in 2019, our impact team revisited the student residence to document how, and to what extent, we have succeeded in making a difference for the students.

Bikuben 1649
The Bikuben Student Residence is located in Copenhagen right next to the university.
Intentions on the drawing board are one thing. It’s another thing, how and to what extent a building creates impact in real life.
Johanne Mose Entwistle | Anthropologist | Head of Impact

Clarifying the original intention

Before revisiting our completed buildings, we dive deep into the original intention of the architecture. So in close dialogue with our architects, our impact team discuss the original intention and discover how they have been translated into the building design. That is because each of our completed buildings is a result of a set of unique intentions – socially, economically or environmentally – and our revisits are all about documenting how, and to what extent, these intentions have created impact in real life.

AART KBH 2019 02 H
Head of impact, Johanne Mose Entwistle, in dialogue with two colleagues about the original intentions of the Bikuben Student Residence.

Getting social insights

Armed with knowledge of the original intention, we venture into the field – in this case the Bikuben Student Residence. We do this to meet the people who work, study or live inside the building. We observe their daily practices and conduct interviews – individual and focus group based – to explore how they experience and interact with the architecture. We compare these social insights with the original intention to document how and to what extent we have succeeded in creating the desired social impact.

Bikuben Kollegiet 2019 AART 10 H
We make a virtue of meeting the people who live inside our buildings, in this case the residents at the Bikuben Student Residence..

Quantifying social insights

After revisiting the building, we compare our social insights with quantitative research. We do this to make a well-documented impact chain, creating a convincing correlation between the social impact on an individual scale to the economic impact on an organisational or societal scale. By quantifying our social insights, we thus show how and to what extent through our architecture we have contributed to pushing a larger agenda and making a tangible difference for the people, organisations and society who we always have in mind when designing a building or drawing up a masterplan.

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Head of impact ad interim, Mia Kruse, PhD student, Eszter Sántha, and sustainability manager, Stephanie Carr, discuss our social insights.

Drawing up an impact case

At the end, we draw up an impact case where, based on the original intention, we sum up our insights and translate them into a relevant and sharp-focused storytelling. We do this to anchor our impact-based insights in our own practice, but also to share them with our surrounding world. Because, fundamentally, we are driven to convey the deep, impactful perspectives of architecture – and how better to do this than to show, quite tangibly, how we have done this in our own completed buildings.

Explore all our impact cases

Impact case Bikuben AART Article
Our impact case of how the Bikuben Student Residence counteracts loneliness featured in the Danish architectural magazine ArkByg.

Step by step | This is how we document the impact of our completed buildings.

We have gathered 20 stories exploring the last 20 years of our practice.

Explore our anniversary website