Kolman Boye Architects was founded in 2013 by Erik Kolman Janouch and Victor Boye Julebäk after having collaborated on several projects. The practice has a research-based approach, coupling academic work with construction and material investigation. Projects are informed by a sensitivity to experience, cultural heritage and the physical qualities of architecture.
Our goal is to develop aesthetic, environmental and culturally sustainable approaches in the art of construction – all inspired by presence and a considered stance.
Victor Boye Julebäk, Cand. Arch. MAA, studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Alongside practice he teaches as assistant professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture with the master programme for Cultural Heritage, Transformation and Conservation.
Erik Kolman Janouch, Master of Science (arch.) MSA, studied architecture at the Royal Swedish Institute of Technology and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture. Alongside practice he heads a small construction company that among other things build the small scale projects developed in the practice, allowing a valuable closeness between studio and craft.
Interview, Architecture SE
Which are your two most important projects and what defines them?
When we designed and built the house on the island of Vega, we where quite young and inexperienced. It was an amazing challenge to take on a place that was so unique. The project is defined by what could be called poetic pragmatism. The house has a tranquil, natural and unpretentious quality. The complexity lives in the encounter between the landscape and the the building – between nature and culture. It required meticulous surveys, measurements and a building proces that was based entirely on human power to achieve the desired result. It was a challenge, but something we always try to achieve in our current projects.
The project Grounds of Grassroots in Thailand is in full progress right now. That’s a big project for us with a programme quite unlike anything we’ve previously worked with. We are working according to a methodology similar to the one we used when we built the pavilion for Wallpaper Magazine’s Handmade exhibition – trying to develop a series of structural components that are made of local recycled timber. These then provide the framework for three different building programmes – restaurants, hotels and stables. In the nordic countries, we are used to working with light and warmth. Here we can suddenly put all our usual ideas to a head. Walls are as thin as they where Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona pavilion, and the buildings must provide shade and let the cool air in instead of heat and luminosity.
What are your sources of inspiration and who are your most important role models?
Like Jorge Luis Borges writes: “A… poet is a discoverer rather than an inventor.” Our work is based on an analysis of architectural and landscape values, materials, tonalities and atmosphere. These experiences together with a specific culture and a unique crafts tradition almost always make up the foundation for our preliminary talks about a project. Historic references also play a key role in our architecture practice. However, pitched roofs, wood joining techniques and natural materials are not an expression of historic homage, but rather a recognition of the silent knowlege of how buildings can withstand the climate and utilise local materials in the best way possible and relate to a specific location.
What defines you work approach?
We like to use our hands in both the development of project and to follow our projects through to completion on the building site. We learn a lot by having the chance to build some of our projects ourselves and to constantly work with materials. Physical experience is what shapes us.
How do you view material and form?
In the design process, our onset is that we orient ourselves in the world through our senses. With our architecture, we therefore try to appeal to not only visual, but also auditory, tactile and olfactory senses. We aspire to mainly make use of natural materials, but are not opposed to them being processed using modern methods. We believe in the simple form rather than the complex. It’s incredible what can be done today in terms of form. The question we perhaps should be posing is whether it is necessary to use all tools simultaneously? It may be better to try to understand what the most consequent means of working is in order to achieve the desired quality and character? We believe that both material and form fare well by taking a step back and act as a vessel for life to fill with content.
Selected Printed Publications
We highly appreciate applications by talented individuals to our practice. In additon to sending examples of work and a cv, applicants should clearly state the reasons for wanting to join the practice. We try to respond to all enquiries, but the number of applications we receive may at times prevent us from contacting candidates other than those invited for interview. We regret that we are unable to return hard copy portfolios submitted.