Magnus Monsson: "One Method, Different Standards"

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Magnus Monsson: "One Method, Different Standards"
Magnus Monsson: "One Method, Different Standards"

Video: Magnus Monsson: "One Method, Different Standards"

Video: Magnus Monsson: "One Method, Different Standards"
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What project has become Semrén & Månsson's first job in Moscow?

Magnus Monsson:

- Our first project in Moscow, or rather the near Moscow region - UP-quarter "Scandinavsky", residential complex with a well-thought-out space and modern European layouts, initiated by the developer FGC "Leader". This project allowed us to open a Moscow office two years ago, and we were very pleased with this opportunity.

When and where did you start working in Russia?

- We worked with Russian companies already in the 1990s, but then it was an irregular cooperation. Over the past 8 years, we have had more permanent projects, which allowed us to open an office in St. Petersburg 5 years ago. There are 25 architects working in the St. Petersburg office, and we are growing. We strive for a long-term presence in Russia and operate throughout the country, from St. Petersburg and Moscow to Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tyumen, Yaroslavl, as well as in other large cities. The first project that we did after the opening of the office in St. Petersburg was a residential complex in Kolpino. Now it has been built and has brought considerable success to the customer.

In addition to Russian offices, we have one in Szczecin, Poland, but it is much smaller than the St. Petersburg one. From time to time we have orders in other countries, but so far we have local representations only in Russia and Poland.

As far as I know, neighborhood buildings are very popular in Swedish cities, as well as in Russia; Substantial part UP-Quarter "Scandinavian" is solved just like that. What do you think of this approach to urban planning? What are its advantages and difficulties?

- The neighborhoods are our common European heritage, they constitute the urban context. This type of housing is widespread and highly regarded by people throughout Europe. It delimits urban spaces and naturally enhances the dignity of public squares, streets and private courtyards. Quarter planning and similar urban planning approaches are convenient for life, so we use them. And for us, architects, it is extremely important that the houses are comfortable for the residents. The downside is that sunlight does not illuminate all apartments equally. This is a major challenge for an architect - to organize houses so that all apartments receive enough light and sun.

Is it possible to add variety to the block buildings? What tools does Semrén & Månsson use for this?

“I find it important to maintain the scale and proportion of the street landscape, as well as to use the ground floors for public and commercial functions. Taking these two principles as a rule, then you can play with volumes, for example, place a building of a higher height inside a block, or push the boundaries of blocks in order to improve insolation. These things need to be investigated separately, finding the best solutions for each specific case.

What aspects do you consider important in the area of improvement of quarter development?

- Public parks and semi-enclosed courtyards are as important as the landscape design of streets and squares. The challenge is to create places of social interaction and contact, as well as recreation. We also use exploited roofs for this, creating places for relaxation and communication, as well as for growing flowers and vegetables.

How is the work of an architect different in Sweden and in Russia?

- The method and approaches are the same; we start by analyzing the place and circumstances, limitations and possibilities, context and culture, and then we create our project. This method is the same everywhere, but the results are different depending on the different circumstances. The standards are different, so in Russia we hire Russian architects, and this seriously affects the result. But the desire for good architecture is invariable everywhere! Since many of our Swedish customers not only build, but then also manage the completed properties, they are probably more interested in the long-term quality of buildings. This has to do with energy efficiency, aging characteristics of materials and other aspects that affect the quality of financing and quality-in-time.

How would you explain the growing popularity of Scandinavian architecture and design in the world, and especially in Russia?

- I think that the popularity of Scandinavian architecture is primarily due to its functionality. It is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also practical, functional and comfortable for people. On the other hand, Scandinavian architecture is closely related to modern trends in environmental friendliness and energy efficiency.

What are the features of modern Swedish architecture? Is there something that sets it apart from the architecture of other Scandinavian countries?

- In terms of style, Swedish architecture is very close to the architecture of other Scandinavian countries. However, it is somewhat more classical, restrained and less experimental. Swedes are passionate about sustainability and the timeless quality of creations. We find extremes to tire quickly.

Does your Semrén & Månsson bureau manage to find a balance between the aesthetics of the building, the comfort of its inhabitants and the moderate construction budget? If so, how?

- Yes, this is our main goal in all projects! We have extensive experience in both Sweden and Russia. The most successful projects are done in close dialogue with a competent client with strategic thinking. We have a full-scale business in Sweden where we build and finance our own projects in addition to the usual architecture and design business. These projects are the best confirmation of the possibility of balancing quality architecture, satisfied residents and financial success.

Wooden architecture is widespread in Sweden, wood is used in public buildings and business centers. I'm right? Is the use of wood regulated in Sweden by any regulations? Do you think that such standards are generally needed in our time?

- You are absolutely right. Wood is widely used as a building material in Sweden, and interest in its use has increased greatly recently. We encourage wood construction because wood is a renewable, environmentally friendly material. Moreover, the material is closely related to our culture, as we are surrounded by wood everywhere in Sweden. And besides, the tree is not only comfortable, but also beautiful!

Fire regulations are very strict when it comes to wood, but there are many good ways to make wood structures safe. We even have the opportunity, observing all the standards, to build high-rise buildings, whose structural basis, as well as the facades, are made of wood.

Have the Swedish energy performance requirements for buildings been revised over the past few years? How often are they changed? What standards do you have now?

“Since the early 1970s, when Sweden was hit hard by the oil crisis, we have focused on energy efficiency. The norms are constantly changing and become, with the development of technology, more and more stringent. In Sweden it is considered perfectly normal to build "passive" houses with zero energy consumption, there are even buildings that produce energy - so called houses with a positive energy balance.

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