dominique + serena
Learning outside the office
Copenhagen, DK

dominique + serena is an architectural studio founded by German-Polish architect Dominique Hauderowicz and Danish architect Kristian Ly Serena. From their office in Copenhagen, they exhibit a strong experience in inclusive participatory processes and methodology, as well as the design and realisation of inclusive architecture.

 

Getting things rolling

In the case of our studio, how we started was very simple: We finished our diplomas project at the same time at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen and then fell in love! The day after we graduated we handed a small pamphlet with a vision for a new pedagogy to our professor and got teaching positions, and simultaneously, infused with the distinct energy of summer Copenhagen, we went home and founded the company, blindfolded, naive and ecstatic. After that we went on to earn an honourable mention in the worlds’ largest architecture competition to date - the Guggenheim Helsinki - and it all got rolling from there. 

 

Learning outside the office

We have always been very interested in how architecture relates to people in their everyday life, what it does instead of how it looks. We are often inspired or learning from seemingly undesigned situations, and some of our most influential reflections derive from personal meetings with people and seeing how they live. The experience of working as a home carer during studies, for instance, seemed at the time irrelevant in relation to the peers cutting away their hours at the model table of large corporations but now in retrospect it has proved a much more valuable experience, and has taught us more about architecture than any cardboard office-block would ever have done. This particular example became a prerequisite for writing about and constructing age-inclusive places, which we do today. 

 

Consolidating and synthesising

It is obviously significant that we are not only professional partners, but have always been also lovers and now parents of two small kids. Our work and life have evolved together, over time  - and there has never been a clear distinction between life and work. Although that can be hard, it is also a great source of joy, and now we are also being able to transmit the joy of creating things to our children. We are very excited soon to centralise all aspects of our life under the same address: We are dividing, extending and refurbishing a large villa to house both our and our extended family in an experimental multi-generational housing, as well as building our studio on the same plot - at the beach under the pine trees. 

 

A space to work with text

It has always been important for us both to have an office/studio but also a workshop space; someplace that is not clean, and can allow for exploring materials and making things. We love working with our own hands, and in large scale models. An adaptable work environment is important for us so that the work does not merely become a habit, but rather allows for multiple ways of expression. We have also been working with text these last years and having a place to quietly concentrate is really important if you want something challenging done! 

 

Unexpected achievements

Surely our work has taken us to unexpected places. We never would have guessed that we would publish a book on one of our favourite publishers Hatje Cantz  alongside researchers from all over the world on the subject of age and space! However, the core of our interests feels constant. It just moves around in different forms and means of expressions, but always somehow centers around the social potentials of architecture.

 

Complexity and fun

Managing multiple building sites, writing a condensed publication and refurbishing our own studio whilst moving our family and continuing to seek out new paths and create work that is interesting to us and others will be the agenda for the next few months. We are also currently working on some collaborative projects that involve both researchers and municipalities, so they are naturally both complex and challenging, hopefully fun too!

 

dominique + serena portrait lyst dominique + serena

dominique + serena studio dominique + serena

AIPS c+o s dominique + serena

DA D+S dominique + serena

Photography Courtesy of dominique + serena






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