Denmark – While most architects are known for designing buildings, some of the world’s most innovative architecture firms have research divisions that study how we can live better lives within our built environment. Take 3XN, one of Denmark’s leading architecture practices, as an example: a decade ago the firm launched GXN to investigate new green technologies (fittingly, the G stands for “green”). GXN develops technologies for the firm’s projects through interdisciplinary collaboration (scientists, computer programmers, psychologists), experimentation with physical construction, and open source knowledge that’s shared through publications and exhibitions.
Most of GXN’s work focuses on “Regenerative Design, and how buildings affect people, nature and society.” Their BioBuild project for example features biocomposite materials like corn, flax fibre, soy bean and cork as components in building elements (walls, facades, etc.), all of which reduce embodied-energy. Another project called Urban Green seeks to develop green roofs and walls that act as complete habitats for plants and wildlife, which can then be deployed in urban areas to improve air quality and mitigate water runoff. This kind of cutting-edge research, often funded in part by government agencies, not only adds value to the environment but to the architectural significance of a project as well. We look forward to visiting 3XN/GXN in Copenhagen in 2 weeks to get a sneak peek at their latest research in person!