INSIGHTS: BUILDING ARCHITECTS - A FRONT WITHOUT BACK

Published 2019-12-17

A construction project can be complicated, and building codes, regulations and appeals do not make it any easier. The role of the developer is becoming increasingly complex, and there is a growing need for a partner with an understanding of the entire business and with real-life experience. This is why we are building on our own account. To learn more about the pedagogical aspects, to better understand our client's business deal, and to develop the role of the architect into a close partnership with the developer. 

That is my usual answer when someone asks about our real estate company and our work as building architects. 

In 2011 the production started for Danska Vägen in Gothenburg, a project we carried out on our own account from conception to the completion of two residential buildings. We learned a lot from the process of designing, building, and administering the 68 rental apartments, that was actually nominated for Årets Bygge, 'Construction of the Year' (if you don't mind me bragging). Since then, we've established the company Månsson Fastigheter in which a handful of projects on our own account are underway. My ambition is to prove, through those projects, that it is possible to construct well-thought-out buildings  - at a lower cost and with higher long-term value. Many are talking about it, but few are actually doing it. We are increasing the value of the investment in our own projects by almost 20 per cent, and I want the same for our clients. 

During my 40 years as an architect, I've learned that we can't merely say that we can, we need to show it. 

That's why I'm currently focusing on two key questions; digitalisation and business know-how, and the former has a significant influence on the latter. Already during the design process, we can lean on digital tools to quantify vital numbers for the properties we are working on, for example, the number of plasterboards, or the amount of concrete needed for a project. This means that we also need to update our work process. We can't start only with the design questions. In order to make the sketches factual and to ensure high utilisation rates, we need to include energy balance sheets, noise studies, and GIS mapping already from the start.

We're basically starting with everything simultaneously, which is what defines a holistic approach. 

As architects, we need to have great respect for the costs during the construction process, but our focus needs to be long-term; high property value and low operational cost. If we invest 100 million, it should be worth at least 130, or it's not a good solution. And that value should not be eroded due to inadequate technical solutions. We get these kinds of experiences and lessons from being building architects. When we are just as committed to the technical and economic conditions, as we are to the design, we promote great architecture and beautiful environments.  And that is not only good for our clients but society as a whole. 

Magnus