3RW arkitekter is led by four partners; Sixten Rahlff, Espen Rahlff, Haakon R. Rasmussen and Jakob Røsvik, and an office manager; Cecilie Osmundsvaag. They oversee an office based in Bergen, Western Norway, with an international team of architects, planners and urban designers. As of 2020, the 3RW team regroups some 20 employees of varied skills and appreciable experience.
From Bergen’s vibrant artistic & cultural scene and the Open Form movement
3RW arkitekter was established in the fall of 1999 as a young and independent office, strongly rooted in Bergen’s art and cultural scene. The founding partners were all educated at the independent Bergen Architecture School, BAS, founded by Svein Hatløy, a pioneer architect and a significant theoretician, who was working with Oscar Hansen on the concept of “open form”. During his professional and academic practice in Norway, Open Form was about creating an inclusive architecture with democratic expression in the sense that architecture serves the change of modern lifestyle while establishing a strong interaction with the landscape.
In its early years, 3WR’s practice has benefited from this new way of conceptualizing space and design; a new way that helped shape an alternative Norwegian practice in the fields of art and architecture.
The question ‘’what is the city?’’ in the Norwegian culture today resists being settled and seems instead taking several leads. In a country where only 2% of the land is urbanized, and 80% of what seems intact Nature is in fact cultivated, it is often retrograded behind the question ’’what is the nature?’’ and cannot stop being intertwined to the faith of the city. The work of 3RW since its first commission for the Biennale in 1999 constantly embraces the diversity and interrogations to practicing architecture and urbanism today in a fast growing and changing yet stable society.
As a Nation made up of contrasts –growing but relative small numbers of inhabitants in an immense land, social and pragmatic but backed-up by Oil and Maritime industry, increasingly urbanized but strongly rooted in nature– our contemporary perspective is evolving by doing. We are also assessing and learning ideas coming from outside to shape a unique vision for the transformation of our built environment, of our natural habitat, and hopefully become a benchmark for high-quality and sustainable living.
From the Northern West-coast of Europe, building upon a Scandinavian philosophy, we are today actively engaged in several fields of work to invent intelligent new possibilities of use that calls for a continuous international practice.
A continuous work with public and private actors
In an economy where private actors are taking an increasing role to build and develop projects, 3RW has maintained strong ties with the public actors as well. Being part of a broad field of public sector, from the role as advisors and consultants, masterplanners, and designers, gives us a better understanding of the foodchain that constitutes the production of our surroundings.
It is for us a strategic commitment to maintain a critical approach to projects and continuously refine our design tools. It also provides the office with a robust and flexible portfolio that is not heavily vulnerable to adjustments in economic conditions.
Academic and theoretical practice
The office maintains a strong academic practice with one third of our staff involved at different level at Bergen Architecture school, among others. The involvement covers the whole education’s spectrum and we focus also on developing international partnerships.
The ambition is to enable dynamic research, experimentation and building on site, while questioning various aspect of today’s complex practice or architecture and urbanism in an intelligent and innovative way. Sixten Rahlff is the vice-director involved with way forward for the school.
3RWs recently completed student housing project Grønneviksoren in Bergen won international recognition and was shortlisted for the ‘Mies van der Rohe’ Award in 2015. This project was also featured, along the Memorial at Utøya ‘’the clearing’’ in the 2016 Venice Biennale ‘’Reporting from the front’’.
3RW arkitekter have also participated in the Venice Biennale in 2006 for the Taiwan pavilion together with architect Marco Casagrande and in 2001 together with artist Kalle Grude, Svein Ove Kirkhorn and Niels Peter Flint. 3RW arkitekter also joined the Havana Biennale in 2001 beside other national exhibitions of contemporary architecture.
3RW arkitekter first monographic exhibition at the prestigious Galleri ROM in Oslo in 2005 affirms the office as a key actor in the Scandinavian scene.
The office has won the ‘Europe 40 under 40’ Award in 2007 and members of the office have received the ‘AR+D’ award, overall winner in the Architectural Review + D-Line Design price in 1999, and the ‘Ruth & Ralph Erskine’ prize in 1997.
3RW arkitekter is currently developing together with Arvinius+Orfeus their first monographic publication due in the spring of 2017.
3RW arkitekter is run by a board of four partners: Sixten Rahlff, Espen Rahlff, Haakon R. Rasmussen and Jakob Røsvik. The Board’s role is to elaborate and revise 3RW’s yearly strategic plan and ensure that these measures are being implement. They are also in charge of setting the financial target of the company.
The company is managed daily by a committee constituted of the CEO and partner Sixten Rahlff, Office manager Cecilie Osmundsvaag and Design director Jerome Picard.
The aim is to synergize different facets of the company to best investigate and implement the way forward in term of Business development, Design qualities, Communication and personal growth of everyone at 3RW.
The office is involved constantly in high-quality design processes in line with its strategic plan. It emphasizes especially sustainability and advanced building solution such as BIM.
We are currently developing several projects and since 2008, following BIM standards.
Elida Mosquera has a certification in BIM management by RICS and a leading expert in the field thanks to her international experience with large model-based projects.
Eva Leonardi is developing the sustainability side of our strategy and is a certified BREEAM manager. It is a crucial role within the office in order to develop projects from sketch to site that deliver the highest possible sustainable qualities.