“To me the planetary boundaries are design parameters”. Interview with Kasper Guldager

His tip for young architects: “You have the education to envision and design the world of tomorrow, so don’t do anything if you don’t have your heart and believe in it”

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23/09/2022 - Kasper Guldager, this year on the Sustainable Design Jury Panel of the Archiproducts Design Awards 2022, is a danish architect, visiting professor in Architecture in Munich, Delft and Calgary. He’s a circular economy advisor for the Danish Government and the City of Amsterdam and recently appointed Chairman for the development of European Standards for Circular Construction.
 
Together with other colleagues, in 2021 he founded Home.Earth, a European real estate company setting out to develop urban communities with inclusivity, liveability and sustainability at its core.
 

The interview with Kasper Guldager 

- At TEDx Copenhagen in 2012, you started your talk by saying, 'I am an architect, but not in the traditional sense'.
What kind of architect were you in 2012, and how would you define yourself ten years later?
Good question, in 2012 I was fascinated with new possibilities in material science and technology transfer. How we can use stronger, lighter, smarter materials and how to make new architecture through new ways of production. Now in 2022 I’m driven by creating social impact and to scale sustainable solutions. 

- At TEDx, you spoke about your interest in innovation, in the materials of the future and how they can meet various ecological design challenges.
Which challenges have we faced, and which do we need to meet from a materials innovation perspective?
I believe the circular economy is a material economy. So we need to rethink the way we build and re-build so we can circulate the resources and materials we use and the value they represent.
 
- "Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy systems for all", "Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, durable and sustainable", and "Ensuring sustainable models of production and consumption". These are just some of the Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for which it is crucial to harmonise three key elements - economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
Where does the world of architecture stand with less than eight years to go until the point of no return?
It’s very clear to me that architects and the building industry at large need to act now in order to deal with climate change. To me the planetary boundaries are design parameters. How do we design within the limits of the planet. What I call planet positive design.  
 
- You have recently been named President for the development of the European Standards for a Circular Construction.
How can the Circular Economy in Architecture contribute to achieving the 2030 goal? What actions have you taken?
I realized that I needed to change role in the industry in order to create more impact. So my biggest action has been to move from advisor and architect into to my current life as client and innovator in Home.Earth where we do planet and positive homes. 
 
- Tell us about your experience as founder of the 3XN innovation unit?
Was your experience a "training ground" and "springboard" for your Home.Earth project?
Popular speaking I like to say that I spend 15 year on developing tools and solutions for how to create a circular future. For more than a decade I’ve been designing green materials developing green solution and business models. All of which forms the foundation of my new company where we can finance and demonstrate a green transition for the built environment.   
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- How did the idea of Home.Earth come about?
Home.Earth is the idea of my co-founder Rasmus Nørgaard, who previous has started todays largest real estate company in the Nordics. What sets Home.Earth apart is that we are defined by and financially mandated a triple bottom line, so we create both financial, social and ecological revenue. 
 
- How can a single building "make the world a better place"?
Can you tell us about the projects you have on the boards right now and how they will achieve this goal?
I’m currently developing our first building together with Effekt and Vandkunsten architect. For this project we are setting a new standard for carbon transparency, circular construction and increased biodiversity. But the biggest difference is how we focus on creating social impact. We need to live differently in the future. We need solve the climate challenges we face, we need to design buildings that are up to date with how lives are lived today. We need to share resources rethink living with way smaller and more diverse private m2 and larger and more abundant and inclusive shared m2.
“To me the planetary boundaries are design parameters”. Interview with Kasper Guldager 3

“To me the planetary boundaries are design parameters”. Interview with Kasper Guldager 4



- What advice would you give a young architect entering the world of architecture today?
The world will only change if we change. You have the education to envision and design the world of tomorrow, so don’t do anything if you don’t have your heart and believe in it.
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