Article and images by Laura Craft, Jennifer McMaster, Robert Martin, Olivia Savio-Matev and Matthew Wells. Image by Dorte Hermann, Henning Larsen Architects
“Working as a multidisciplinary team has been both challenging and rewarding. The MADE student team has a diverse range of perspectives on design and it has been fascinating to see all of our initial ideas for Refshaleøen emerge. We all approach design problems from our own perspectives, with distinctive understandings of scale and design process. Olivia brings her interest in intimate spaces; Jen a strong sense of urban and city planning values; Rob an interest in ecology and natural processes; Matt strong strategic planning skills; and Laura a focus on sustainable infrastructure. It has been invaluable to learn how each team member approaches a design brief and works through their ideas.
After forming strong, individual design responses to the brief, it was important to identify our collective goals. Working in a team of this size was a new experience for all of us and we learned quickly to see past individual considerations. Our visions became shared, rather than ours alone.
The first phase of the brief required us to produce a Catalogue of Ideas: specifically, five different master planning strategies. Together, we defined the five ideas and assigned one area of research to each team member. Through lengthy discussions and meetings, we fleshed out each idea and applied our thinking across multiple scales. This rapidly strengthened and developed each idea, which, given the short timeframe of the project, worked to our advantage. Throughout this process, we have all learned how to negotiate, to listen to each other and to contribute to others’ ideas in a way that strengthens them.
In producing the Phase One deliverables, each team member worked across the five presentation panels. We quickly identified the skills and strengths of each team member and applied these across all five projects: Olivia produced emotive sections; Jen produced master plans and coordinated layouts; Rob produced atmospheric renders; Matt shared his thorough research and collected reference images; and Laura produced architectural diagrams. We all shared our skills when required.
In the end, these strategies allowed us to deliver an aesthetically and conceptually coherent Catalogue of Ideas. Our ability to collaborate closely was evidenced by the fact that our work was consistent across all five proposals. This quality was recognised by the design jury, which was made up of members from Henning Larsen, Steensen Varming and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Schools of Architecture, Design and Planning).”