Turning old school buses into COVID-19 mobile labs for underserved communities

In order to make coronavirus testing more accessible to low-income communities across the United States, we’ve developed the COVID-19 mobile lab together with Perkins and Will and in partnership with Arup. The scalable solution increases COVID-19 testing capacity within high-density, high-risk, and underserved neighborhoods by bringing the testing site into the community.


Our team identified seven key parameters to guide the design process: equitability, mobility, accessibility, speed, flexibility, ease of implementation, and scalability. School buses – mostly unused while students are learning from home – was a universally relevant solution.


Every element of the mobile testing lab, including the generators, HVAC systems, and awnings, is designed to be sourced off-the-shelf from vendors, ensuring easy replicability across communities. In the future, these mobile testing labs could also offer antibody testing, or administer vaccines — once discovered and approved — to society’s most vulnerable populations.


Read more about the project in Fast Company’s recent story, “How we could turn out-of-use school buses into low-cost mobile COVID test labs” found here.


Kristian Lars Ahlmark speaks at JUNG’s virtual lecture series

Save the date! Partner and Design Director Kristian Lars Ahlmark will speak at a virtual lecture series focusing on Nordic architecture on May 26 at 10AM, an event organized by JUNG, the German supplier of modern building technology, and the German Architecture Museum DAM in Frankfurt.


The Nordic session will include Kristian’s lecture “(re)Connecting the City” that will address the blurred line between master planning and building design and its influence on connectivity in the public realm.


More details can be found here.


We won our first university project in North America: the Gateway Building at the University of British Columbia

In collaboration with Perkins and Will, we have been selected to design the new Gateway Building, a transformational project at The University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada.


The Gateway Building will co-locate the School of Nursing, School of Kinesiology, Integrated Student Health Services, and other of UBC health programs in a building that will facilitate interaction and synergy, and contribute to students’ and faculty’s health and wellbeing. Supporting collaboration between programs, the Gateway Building will convey UBC as a place that leads research and forward-thinking ideas in health science.


As the principal point of entry and historical arrival route to UBC, the building will play a critical role in creating an academic gateway experience and is an opportunity to express the university’s identity and values.


Ningbo New Library, an elegant blend of cultural functions, completes in China

After opening our Shanghai studio more than 12 years ago, we have realized our first library project in China, the 31,800-square-metre Ningbo New Library. Located 200 kilometres south of Shanghai at the centre of Ningbo, China’s new cultural hub, the library is a vital element in the ongoing development of the city.


Founded in 1927, the original Ningbo City Library held the largest collection of historic and ancient books in the region and attracted three to four thousand daily visitors. The new library, with its open, accessible architecture, aims to double the number of daily visitors and become the cultural heart of the community.


“We first came to Ningbo seven years ago when the Eastern New Town area of Ningbo was just beginning to slowly redevelop,” said Chris Hardie, Partner and Design Director Shanghai at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “To see the library completed and part of not only the new ecological wetland landscape, but also the fabric of the local culture, is a rewarding milestone for our team.”


Read more about Ningbo New Library here.


State Library Victoria shortlisted for the 2020 Australian Institute of Architects VIC Awards

Australia’s oldest and largest library has been shortlisted for the 2020 Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter awards. The historical project for the city of Melbourne is a finalist for the Heritage, Public, and Interior Architecture categories, and is also in the running for the acclaimed Melbourne Prize. We designed State Library Victoria in collaboration with Australian-based firm Architectus.


In response to the effects of COVID-19, the 2020 Victorian Architecture Awards are being held digitally with video calls in place of site visits, and the awards ceremony will be live streamed online. “Despite the circumstances, it is important for outstanding architecture to be provided with the opportunity to gain recognition, hence the move to an online approach for this year’s awards,” says Victorian Chapter President Amy Muir. “During these strange times, we are thrilled to celebrate architecture that continues to challenge the status quo. In doing so, meaningful built outcomes are created that establish strong connections between communities and people.”


Winners will be announced at a digital awards ceremony on 10 July 2020 via YouTube. In the meantime, you can learn more about State Library Victoria here.


Photography by Brett Boardman.


Construction of the new Sports and Culture Campus Gellerup is underway

Located west of Denmark’s second-largest city of Aarhus, the Sports and Culture Campus Gellerup is a sprawling, multi-use community project comprising public spaces, a library, and a playful activity house. The public buildings will revitalize the city’s most culturally diverse district and become a welcoming and open destination for city residents and visitors. The project is expected to reach completion in 2021.


Learn more about the Sports and Culture Campus Gellerup here and read the official press release (in Danish) from The Municipality of Aarhus here.


First look at Tencent Crystal City, an ambitious vision that maximizes flexibility, ecology, and innovation near Shenzhen, China

Our design proposal for Tencent Crystal City is an ambitious vision for Qianhai, a district situated at the threshold of Hong Kong and mainland China. The area occupies a position of strategic significance in the Pearl River Delta, and is driven by Tencent, one of the world’s largest internet companies.


We have been working in close collaboration with landscape architect SLA and structural engineer Schlaich Bergermann Partner (sbp) to create a harmonious combination of nature, community, and technology over 2.6 million square meters for Tencent’s employees. The project comprises dynamic workspace, a residential complex, a convention center, a hotel, and supporting facilities for education, health, sports, and infrastructure.


“With Tencent Crystal City we’ve taken a holistic approach to the environment, wellbeing, resilience, and high level of engagement from the client,“ said Chris Hardie, Partner and Design Director at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “We wanted to propose a critique of the traditional urban plan model of a grid plan and create something that maximized landscape without reducing the flexibility the client demanded.”


Learn more about Tencent Crystal City here.


Visual/ Beauty and THE BIT


Predictions for the future of Workplace and Well-Being in a post-COVID-19 world

For decades, the architectural solutions around workplace have evolved and adapted, defining many manifestations: Cellular Offices, Open-plan, Activity Based Working (ABW), Free Seating, New Ways of Working (NWoW), among others.


They are part of a larger discourse among business leaders, developers, landlords, as well as users and tenants, who are looking for solutions to common questions and challenges such as flexibility of layout, increase of well-being, enhancement of productivity, new ways to collaborate, burnout avoidance, and a decrease in absenteeism.


The novel coronavirus has turned the conversation on its head, accelerating our understanding of new opportunities to collaborate and co-create, and how it would appeal and respond to millions of citizens forced to work remotely.


Though the future of the workplace is unclear, it will certainly be different.


Read more about our predictions here.


Helle Nøhr Holmstrøm joins Schmidt Hammer Lassen as Head of Workplace Strategy

Strengthening its offerings in the workplace strategy and interior design, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects welcomes Helle Nøhr Holmstrøm to lead the Workplace Strategy discipline for the firm globally. Helle has spent the past 14 years focused on the constellation of people, strategy, and place as prerequisites for creating well-being, efficiency, and healthy workflows for businesses of all sizes.


With the human experience at the forefront of her work, she approaches each project by first understanding the company’s strategy, business, identity and, most importantly, its staff and work processes.


Helle has been a consultant on several Schmidt Hammer Lassen projects over the past years and will broaden the firm’s services to the benefit of our clients. She begins April 20.


Photo by Laura Stamer

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