Anu Tahvanainen, Emma Koivuranta, and Laura Majava work at Lundén Architecture Company. The Helsinki-based office focuses on developing and innovating built environment, architecture, and urbanism. We met the trio and discussed their modern and independent working methods, as well as Archicad as their modeling tool.
Lundén Architecture Company was formed in 2006 by Eero Lundén. Lundén himself likes to say that the company name, as it stands reflecting only him, does not describe how they operate. Their dynamics and ways of working are based on independent teams and cells.
Effective working units
Project teams at Lundén are very influential and autonomic. These teams make decisions and do all the relevant work regarding each project. Every individual and team has the freedom to analyze and choose which kind of projects to work with. It is empowering when the team has chosen its values and bases its work on them. Lundén's working method also enables processes and projects to be open and transparent inside the company. For example, all employees can see how every project evolves and follows the costs.
"This way of working started when three teams were focusing on different things. One was concentrated on urban planning, the other was working with residential planning, and the third was involved with public sector projects. Our team has since grown, and teams have divided further into even smaller units or so-called cells. This enables projects to stay manageable, and we have the right amount of people working with each project. Independency suffers from too many people in one team", explains Emma, Anu, and Laura.
When comparing this method to a more traditional way of working, the biggest difference is most likely how diverse the playing field for every individual in a team is. Every team handles every relevant procedure in a certain project. This involves project coordination, planning, marketing, and also administrative tasks. This way, employees can have an actual influence on their work and what it entails. It enables all individuals to create their job descriptions, work on the most interesting project, and use their strengths. The essence of teamwork is truly present, and no-one is left alone.
It is important to be involved in the customer's project straight from the beginning. Lundén's architects want to influence how projects are done. It gives the opportunity to renew, create, and develop new concepts and ways of working if needed.
"We want to take architecture in whole forward with our customers, not just implement requests. It seems we are creating something new as we have heard many comments wondering about our way of working and if architecture agencies can work this way. New working methods have immersed to Lundén office from the gaming and software industry, where people work a similar way."
"Work is a process that evolves continuously; hence it will be interesting to see where we stand a year from now. We feel this working method is well fitted for younger designers as they can see the project as a whole. The planning and also project management. At Lundén, everyone has their say, and nobody is above someone else."
Once an Archicad user, always an Archicad user
When discussing software, Emma, Anu, and Laura strongly believe in Archicad.
"Before Archicad, we had a long history with Autocad and Rhino. Then one day, we faced one very demanding BIM project, and we started working with Revit. Along the way, in the project, it became clear to us that Revit wasn't the right tool for us. At that time, a new member of our team, Minna Ahtiainen, had a history with Archicad. She convinced us to try it as she knew Archicad's capabilities in demanding and diverse projects. An so we did."
"At first, Minna was the only one who knew how to use Archicad. She stood by our side and instructed us how to use the system, and we discovered that it was easy to learn. I have used many systems during my career, but Archicad has taken me with it. It is logical, simple to use, and has many exceptional features. I think I have become fanatic about it", Emma laughs.
After having great experiences with Archicad, Lundén Architecture Company started paying more attention when recruiting, and if applicants had any Archicad background. Laura has graduated from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, where Archicad is part of the curriculum.
"I used Archicad already in school, and I was so excited about it already then. Now I have a long history with Archicad, and it hasn't let me down, quite the opposite", Laura explains.
A great tool can also impact how you feel towards your work. A great system can increase the enjoyment, adds Anu. "I have been an Archicad enthusiast for a long time already. It would be hard to work in an agency that works with other systems. For some time, I used to work with a company that used Autocad, and it wasn't fun at all. I feel that the right software tool makes the difference in how much you can enjoy your work."
About BIM and current projects
BIM coordinators can bring many benefits to larger and more complicated projects. Also, at Lundén, an outsourced BIM coordinator has brought needed coordination in demanding projects. The BIM coordinator can tell what kind of information is needed and coordinate it. In some projects, it is challenging yet crucial to know which information is required.
"Some clients require very detailed information to be included to model; hence communication is essential. This way, we enable all project participants to be on the same page and know what is happening. On the other hand, we still have a few customers who prefer not to have BIM or feel they won't need it. I would still say that 90 % of all cases are in BIM. It makes things easier for us, too, as a large amount of information updates simultaneously, instead of updating everything one by one."
"We are very keen on alterations of existing buildings and look for suitable projects. We see that this area will bring many future projects as many apartment buildings are at the end of their lifecycle. Wood building in architecture is a statement of its own, and it's something we want to be involved in. Sustainability and ecological thinking are trending and highly important topics. It would feel silly to plan something where these issues in today's world would not have been thought through. This involves everything from residential planning, building design to land use planning."