With his keen interest in cultural history and artefacts, training as a cabinet maker and conservator felt natural for Lars Olausson. After ten years in the trade, he made the switch to architect and for the past ten years he’s been with Liljewall Arkitekter. His earlier professional experience has given him a firm grounding and a special feel for wood, something he put to good use when designing Sweden’s first all-wood school – Herresta i Barkarbystaden, north of Stockholm.
At first glance, the two professional careers seem miles apart, but Lars sees many similarities.
"My time as a cabinet maker and restorer gave me many valuable insights. No matter if you’re building furniture or building a house, you need to have an understanding of the load the object can bear. And its also about space and proportions."
Inspiration, function and context
However, one professional difference between a conservator and an architect is that the former focuses on conservation while the latter usually creates something new. This gives me the opportunity to design and express myself personally to a certain extent.
"Each project is unique. While every building must naturally look good, it must also have a raison d’être. There must be an idea that pervades the entire building. The way I see it, there should also be a link to the location, and I’m often inspired by historical backgrounds. At the same time, a building must be fit for purpose. Function and context should interact."
Over the years, Lars’s assignments have included many different types of buildings such as educational facilities, restaurants and thermal power plants. They have also involved two renovations, of which Antikhallarna in Gothenburg is a typical example.
"We have several exciting projects in the pipeline, including the new fire station in Trelleborg; another is the new upper secondary school in Gällivare. As always, we take inspiration from the surroundings, the area’s cultural history and its traditions."