Martin Laursen at the Building Green Event in Hamburg will talk about the construction industry
Oberbillwerder, Hamburg, ADEPT

We are battling a loudly ticking clock in the construction industry

Martin Laursen is founding partner, MA in Architecture + Urbanism at ADEPT. At the Building Green Event in Hamburg 6-7 June 2023, you can hear him in a speech about from the largest masterplan to the smallest community building, a holistic design approach in the construction industry spans scales and geography in the work of the Copenhagen + Hamburg based ADEPT.

In this article you can read an interview with him.

What is your background and how do you work with sustainability?

I graduated as an architect from the Aarhus School of Architecture in 2006 and has since then, as founding partner of ADEPT, gradually moved my professional focus to be primarily urban planning – all shapes, scales and scopes. In recent years I have taken a master’s degree in strategic Urbanism and is also a DGNB Cities consultant. My focus on sustainability thus have a wide perspective, spanning from circular thinking on a strategic level, to the smallest detail handling biodiversity and local water management.

Martin Laursen, Founding partner, MA in Architecture + Urbanism at ADEPT

What challenges and opportunities do you see in sustainable construction currently?

In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges is time. We are battling a very loudly ticking clock. So moving fast, setting aside bureaucracy to guide a new way for the construction industry is desperately needed. On the other hand, I experience a rapidly growing awareness of this fact, causing a shift in the way we design, build and transform both cities and buildings compared to just a few years ago.

This year’s theme is ‘Urban transformation – for the benefit of people and planet’, how can we transform our cities for the benefit of people and planet in your eyes?

As an urban planner, I believe we need to consciously decide to keep advocating a sustainable agenda to make the most sustainable choice the right one, while perhaps not always the most aesthetic one. To keep asking ourselves: is this the most we can do here, the best solution? It means that we have to take a step back from urban growth as a quality in its own right.

At the moment, we keep pushing for shared functions and programs in our urban projects as a way on introducing circular thinking that will nudge human behavior. I believe we have to aid the process towards ‘sustainable thinking as default’ by introducing this kind of ‘easy’ choices as often as we can. That way we can push both the larger sustainable agenda but also poke the behavioral change among individuals.

The Connected City, Oberbillwerder, Hamburg

 What role can cities play to make a difference in the green transition?

A big one I believe. The city at its best is a playground to test sustainable solutions at a larger scale. Whether it be sorting of waste, water management or social strategies, urban transformation and urban development has the potential to set a new agenda that quite simply has a larger impact due to size.

How do we move away from ‘business as usual’ when it comes to sustainable construction?

First and foremost, I believe that is extremely important that we encourage ambitious sustainable development with both public and private clients. The barre must be set high, pushing all parties to aim for the same goal. We need to lay ourselves out there, take actively part in the discussions, either with our words or show the way by how we design our projects – and by keep encouraging all links in the chain to do better, to learn from each other. 

Which sustainable projects do you find exciting?

For me personally, I tend to find working with projects that has a holistic approach to sustainability the most exciting. Working ambitiously across scales and professions, as well as working on sustainability in terms of both climatic, environmental, social and financial aspects and strategies simultaneously somehow make for a combination that I find very inspiring. Learning from experts, collaborators, local citizens, stakeholders and from the specific project conditions is exciting to me almost every time.

WoodHood, Kreuzfeld

What are you talking about at Building Green and what do you hope participants get out of hearing your presentation?

I will discuss and compare Danish and German approaches when working towards absolute sustainability, primarily in urban planning. My talk will evolve around how we develop sustainable strategies for integrated solutions in cities, how we encourage or frame a sustainable development for the building industry to push the whole profession towards better and more sustainable results.

Do you want to hear more from Martin Laursen?

At the Building Green Event in Hamburg 6-7 June 2023, you can hear him in a speech. Read more about Building Green here and sign up here.

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