For Archtober: Swedish Design Moves and SHoP

Leave it to the Swedes.

This week, during Archtober in New York, they’ll be exploring the concept of democratic architecture – something every U.S. city needs at this particular moment.

It kicks off today at 3:00 PM with a talk at the Center for Architecture by SHoP principal Chris Sharples, on an espeically timely topic for America: Affordable housing.

“One of the things we’ve been focusing on is how to use technology to allow us to evolve the way we design and build – how that model is changing to address this issue, from construction to manufacturing,” he says.

Other participants in that conversation include Christer Larsson, City Planning Director Malmö; Alexandra Hagen, CEO Elect White Arkitekter; Per Franson, Vice Dean of Faculty KTH School of Architecture; David Burney, Academic Coordinator at Pratt Institute; Claudia Herasme, Director Urban Design at NYC DCP; and moderator Linda Schuur, Founding Partner of STHLMNYC.

It’s part of a full week of activities from Swedish Design Moves New York, a program celebrating Swedish innovation through the lens of architecture and design, announces a week of programming in New York, October 24-28.

Focusing on democratic architecture and global best practices, Sweden has teamed up with the Center for Architecture and Van Alen Institute to host a series of cross-disciplinary panels and conversations, curated by STHLMNYC. The exhibition Aiming for Democratic Architecture , curated by Architects Sweden and the Swedish Institute, focusing on architectural projects of varying scales from all over Sweden, will open at Van Alen Institute on October 26 and will remain on display thru October 28.

This afternoon’s conversation is well-thought-out. SHoP has been exploring the idea of how to drive expenses out of the building process – through advances in software, collaboration between designers and the trades – and the use of fabrication. The idea is to dramatically lower the costs of financing affordable housing.

It’s a holistic approach. Solutions to design problems, Sharples says, can come from anyone – a subcontractor, an engineer or anyone involved in the process. “In a factory you can actually mix the trades – the carpenters, the ironworkers, the plumbers and the electricians,” he says.

The key is how to source products, bring groups together, and automate it all. “If you put all the components together, the building rises in a matter of weeks, not months,” he says. “If you can knock off three to four months – and 20 to 25 percent – then you can save millions because you’re doing it in a more efficient way.”

He’s onto something here. Go see him and hear the discussion today.

For more on Swedish Design Moves, go here.

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