Digital Tools, Innovation and Sustainability: In Conversation with Henning Larsen

Digital Tools, Innovation and Sustainability: In Conversation with Henning Larsen

Henning Larsen has been creating projects that address cross-cultural design, tackle diverse climatic zones, and try to achieve ambitious sustainability objectives. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the use of technology and specially crafted digital and generative design tools that allow architects to treat any element as a parameter in design.

In a special interview with ArchDaily, Jakob Strømann-Andersen, Partner and Director of Henning Larsen’s Innovation and Sustainability Department talks about digital tools and their incorporation in the design process. Focusing specifically in this conversation on Sandworm, a new modeling program that uses sandboxes, Anderson explains how they have achieved to scan and directly transfer manipulated landscapes into a 3D model.

© Agnete Schlichtkrull© Agnete Schlichtkrull© Agnete Schlichtkrull© Agnete Schlichtkrull+ 8

The Innovation and Sustainability Department has developed several tools over the years to help with the creative process, shifting the rigid understanding of design. From architecture and buildings to urban and landscape, this digital kit of digital instruments is constantly evolving, tackling new challenges, and finding innovative solutions.


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Although recent to architecture, geographers and engineers have been using digital sandboxes for decades, in order to model complex topographies. Providing a different feel from exclusive digital modeling, sandboxes allow “designers to shape and test variations in landscape easily, simply and quickly”. SandWorm is composed of a standard sand one-meter box and a projector that projects contour lines and colors onto the sand. In fact, as we model, when the sensor detects alterations in the sand, it commands the projector to change colors. Basically, the higher the pile, the ‘hotter’ the color. Developed by Henning Larsen and Ramboll, SandWorm, integrated with Grasshopper, can work in both directions: transfer the data from the sandbox back to modeling programs, or copy a digitally modeled landscape into the sandbox by printing the topography into the sand.

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