The Edge: Jan Ammundsen – Transforming Limits in Advantage
February 04, 20143 min read
Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
Jan Ammundsen: I am a father to my one year old daughter, I am a passionate backcountry skier and I am an architect and co-owner of 3XN and GXN. I am the Head of Design and also part of the team that develops 3XN’s building projects.
Novedge: Can you talk about your creative process? How do you approach each new project?
Jan Ammundsen: I always try to figure out the potential as regards to the design. What might seem limitations can often be transformed into a design advantage. Thus I try to understand the subject matter of the assignment in details as it is often from this knowledge and insight that concepts emerge and develop.
Novedge: What (or who) has been the biggest influence on your work?
Jan Ammundsen: I am very inspired by other forms of art, music, films and literature. I have spent a lot of time through the years acquainting myself with the processes that have worked for other creative people, as it has been shown that there is a lot of convergence in the creative process regardless of it being for filmmaking or designing buildings. For me it is always about the design process in order to ensure that the architecture that I design is moving and thus being relevant for the client and the users of the buildings.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
Jan Ammundsen: Projects under construction that I am working on right now are Copenhagen Arena, Odenplan Metro station and the Blue Planet (Denmark’s new National Aquarium), for which we are already drawing the future extension.
Novedge: Architecture is often thought of as a solo profession, when in fact, it's team work. How do you work with your team?
Jan Ammundsen: We work in small and close teams. All members of our teams are super skilled architects and many of them possess different high-end expert skills such as parametric design, facade design etc. We aim to have an office environment with room for everyone to develop their ideas. We use positive criticism which means that when we discuss different ideas, people are only allowed to say something positive: those projects that receive a lot of positive feedback get to live on and those that don’t, die. We try to ensure that it is fun to go to work and that we keep a nice atmosphere among the architects.
Novedge: What innovations do you find most exciting in architecture and design?
Jan Ammundsen: Boat design is moving really fast, just look at the America’s Cup boats. I also think that graphic design and street art are interesting because they are so fleeting and the pace is very fast. And of course also material design, there's actually a department of 3XN and GXN focused on developing new materials.
Novedge: You achieved success at a fairly young age for an architect. What advice do you have for young people who are now studying architecture? What skills, both technical and personal, are in demand in the field?
Jan Ammundsen: You should work with what you enjoy, this is how you can find the energy you need to work long hours. It takes a lot of time to become good, so you have to keep on working. Expect needing to learn new tools all of the time. Always be ready to use the tool that's best for solving the assignment you are given.