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WtR Conversations: Jens Rasmussen

WtR Conversations: Jens Rasmussen

WtR Conversations: Jens Rasmussen

With a climate crisis on our hands, it is no secret that we need to shift how plan, draw, build, operate and manage our real estate. In this blog post we met up with Jens Rasmussen from Helst Arkitekter, the Finnish architects behind Laske, a tool for doing CO2 calculations from BIM models.

Tell me about your office/practice!

My colleague Rabbe and I were working in an office together, mainly on hospitals and other big projects. We were a bit tired of it and wanted to work on smaller and residential projects. Get to a more human scale if you will. We were prepared to do whatever. From the start we also did everything (our smallest project was a 2 m2 bathroom) but now we have scaled up into doing bigger projects like residential blocks / office buildings but still with one leg in Villa design.We’re now 6 coworkers and an office dog, with around a hundred  projects under our belt.

Is there a specific project that captures the essence of Helst?

Well, perhaps more than a specific project we really found our way when we recruited our first coworker. Rather than a top down approach we wanted to include everyone already in the design phase. It stuck with us, and every project we undertake starts with a workshop where everyone pours all their ideas out on the table. After that it’s up to the lead architect to cherry pick the best ideas and incorporate them as they see fit. It’s fun, it’s collaborative, but most importantly it’s a rich place to start a project from.

Like many architects you are focused on creating sustainable architecture, but you took it one step further, why was that?

The footprint of this industry is something that needs to be taken very seriously. Being a small firm, we found that it’s very hard to understand the effect of different material choices or other decisions. In larger projects or firms you have whole teams calculating CO2, but even when you have access to experts for calculations, it’s time consuming. So you either “waste” time and money doing it early or you potentially need to waste time and money going back on ideas after they’ve proven not sufficiently sustainable very late in the process. We wanted to automate and simplify the process to make it accessible and usable throughout the process.

What is Laske?

Laske is a plugin to Archicad that allows you to do  calculations of the CO2 effect directly from the BIM model, with no more than three clicks. It generates diagrams and models on what building components create emissions, and simplifies investigating how much CO2 could be saved by for example changing the frame of a building, or the windows. Simply put, it enables architects, builders and clients to make more insightful decisions.

What’s next for Laske?

Building Laske was a team effort. Valter, who’s a wizard in calculations built the model, and Ninni, who is a researcher on circular buildings at Tampere University,, is a never ending source of information. At HELST architects we are already using LASKE in all our designs, but we want to spread the knowledge to more designers. Therefore we are now developing LASKE into a program that can be used by other companies.

We have been partly founded by the Ministry of Environment in Finland to develop LASKE into a program that we can sell and distribute in the Nordics. At the moment we are looking into different solutions to secure the rest of the funding for this phase of LASKE, hopefully with someone from our industry that understands the needs and possibilities of such a tool.

Read more about Laske and Helst Arkitekter here: click.


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