ARKITEKT I FOKUS – INGRID ALERÅS
TIPS OCH TRENDER –
Having a sympathetic ear and creating buildings people enjoy being in are the cornerstones of Ingrid’s work as an architect. During her training in Switzerland, she also discovered a new dimension to architecture. In Switzerland, they take a more conceptual approach to the design process. Also, more emphasis is given to context, allowing a building to form a natural part of its surroundings.
These things left an impression and have influenced Ingrid’s working methods. Angered’s new travel centre, where Ingrid was the administrative architect, is the latest in a long line of exciting assignments.
Buildings that blend in
Ingrid had always had a penchant for drawing, painting and solving problems, but it was only after a year in the south of France that she decided to train as an architect.
Photo of Christer Brosché
- But it was probably my dad who laid the foundation for my choice of career. He was also an architect and was constantly dragging the family around a whole bunch of places during my upbringing. Some of them were fantastic. In particular, I remember Falling Water in Pennsylvania where Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to build a private home overlooking a waterfall, but built the building right on top of the waterfall instead. Another was the Sea Ranch in California with its silver grey wooden house embedded in its surroundings on the Pacific coast. A building can be so much, and these two places fascinated me by their way of weaving the buildings into the fabric of nature.
Ingrid applied for a place and was admitted to Chalmers University of Technology School of Architecture in Gothenburg, before continuing her studies in Switzerland.
- Just like Sweden, Switzerland has a long tradition of building in wood. But they work with a different focus on precision and detail. In college, they concentrated a great deal on conveying a clear design interpretation. Their more conceptual way of thinking was new to me; it was a bit like telling a story. We went on a whole load of inspirational field trips that I still carry with me. It was mostly all about materials, preferably natural, but also about a feeling for the place and getting the buildings to form a natural part of its context. It was a truly inspirational year!
She’s been with Wingårdh’s Arkitektkontor since 2005 and she’s had the opportunity many times to participate from the earliest stages of a project right through to completion.
- To succeed in driving through an idea all the way to fruition is a difficult challenge, but also a very exciting one. I want to create buildings where people can feel happy and healthy. It’s important to listen sympathetically to peoples’ wishes to turn them into reality
Spaces for culture and nature
One of Ingrid’s Wingårdh projects was the Spira cultural building at Munksjö lakeside in central Jönköping. The building is a venue for performances by Småland’s Music and Theatre, and there’s also a restaurant.
- Designing a building that would house so many enthusiastic audiences eagerly awaiting a performance or concert was an inspiring assignment.
Ingrid also worked with Tåkern’s Naturum [Nature Space] on the shores of its eponymous lake in the western part of Östergötland. There are many visitors to the area, especially birds that have a particular fondness for the locality, and the building is thatched from top to bottom, almost like a birds nest. Ingrid loves to weave buildings into their natural surroundings and let nature speak for itself.
- I’m driven by the joyful, playful nature of my work and I love trying to create something unexpected – something surprising and exciting to explore.
A jewel to be proud of
When Wingårdh was commissioned by Västtrafik to create a travel centre in Angered, they set about it conscientiously.
- We wanted to give Angered a jewel to be proud of. We had rewarding, fun meetings with youths from the city district, and they had a number of wishes. The building had to be safe, without unsafe corners or rear. It also had to enhance the existing thoroughfares, and their meeting place had to be preserved!
Angered, with around 12 million annual departures and arrivals, is a major hub for Gothenburg’s public transport. The hub is used by both buses and trams. In purely architectural terms, it’s quite a diverse, fragmented location in a variety of styles.
- The great number of travellers passing through every day requires a floor that is both durable and easy to maintain. Terrazzo was the natural choice. It’s also beautiful, expressive and can be combined with features in other materials. It’s also non-directional, which is an advantage in a building with five corners.