Designed by Henning Larsen Architecture and White, the newish Umeå School of Architecture building is home to one of the youngest architecture programs in Europe. The school describes itself using words like experimental and laboratory, which sounds scientific and cold, but the interior is airy and warm in a way that the Scandinavians have mastered. White describes the interior as “almost industrial” with its concrete floors, blank walls and high ceilings, but there are details (wooden exterior walls, leather-wrapped handrails and volumetric arrangements) that keep this “workshop for future architects” from looking too much like a factory.
Soon enough, the interior will start to look like something else: chaos. If this is an experimental laboratory let’s hypothesize what will happen when nearly 300 aspiring architects are combined with power tools, spraypaint and building materials. Now, deprive subjects of sleep and run the reaction in a pristine environment with an excess of adhesive. Cleanliness may be the first causality in an architecture studio, but the architecture will survive.