Ecological Thinking, Agricultural & Built Environment Connections & Regenerative Change

As we enter our third year as Djernes & Bell, we are grateful to see the manifestation of our founding goals in the form of real projects, connections, and collaborations. Our focus on regenerative change in the built environment has led to a diverse range of inspiring and hopeful projects, both in research and on-site. Copenhagen takes center stage as the host of the UNESCO World Capital of Architecture 2023, Djernes & Bell hope to bring attention to the importance of decarbonizing our materials and systems, and prioritizing the conservation & regeneration of our existing structures.

In 2022, our mission to promote reuse, repair, renovation, and research was put into action through various projects. Our new office was officially opened in September with a celebratory launch attended by colleagues, friends, and family. We share the office space with co-architecture firms Office Kim Lenshow + Johansen Skovsted, we have already seen many benefits of this collective format and can't wait to see what will grow from this.

We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of our clients, collaborators, and supporters for making our existence possible. Djernes & Bell is a result of the intricate web of connections that define our ecology, and we are proud to be a part of this ever-evolving network.

Harvest to House: Bio and Site Based Building

We believe that the intersection of agriculture, materials, and building cultures holds immense potential for a regenerative future. That's why we have put significant effort into exploring these connections through projects like Harvest to House (Høst til Hus). This project aims to foster dialogue between key players such as farmers, agronomists, thatchers, and architects. The first seminar hosted by Høstskolen (Janne Dinesen) and Dinesen/KADK summer school brought together experts and enthusiasts in the fields of agriculture, materials, building, and craft. We recommend reading Emmy Laura Perez's thoughts and contribution to the seminar.

Harvest to House was developed together with Local Works Studio, who are also collaborators on our Hedeskov Project. Hedeskov share our passion for regenerative change and agree on the importance of transforming the agricultural and building sectors and are renovating an old rural school into a hub of innovation in regenerative thinking, with a specific focus on agriculture and the built environment. The project begins on-site early 2023 and is expected to be completed by year-end. 

In summer 2022 we transformed Copenhagen's Romantic Park Søndermarken into Syd for Solen festival. The pavilions were inspired by romantic follies and designed with circular and bio-based materials. Davide Ronco shaped soil from Frederiksberg Gardens into clay bricks which fronted the bars, The Thatchers Branch Organisation and Danish Scaffolding Service crafted the flowering entrances or 'Eng-Gange' and Natural Materials Studio turned spent-grain into curtains. Syd for Solen project was in collaboration with the brilliant Humble & Curious.

Repair over Replace: Grafting the City

We completed the transformation of a historic apartment in Copenhagen, which has been featured in Divisaire as one of the best interiors of 2022. This project was also featured in RUM magazine and various other online publications.

Our project Residential Regenesis, a collaboration with Henning Larsen Architects, was selected for the first round of Realdania and Smith Innovation's 4 to 1 Planet. As a team consisting of Vandkunsten and Office Kim Lenshow we submitted a PQ for transforming the siloes in Malmø, a plea for adaptive reuse and not demolition. Said well by Lacatan Vassal: 'Never demolish, eliminate or replace, but always add, transform and reuse.' We submitted proposals for the circular renovation of a pre-fabricated concrete school, where the building rebuilds itself through strategic reuse of its own building elements.

We are in good company as Dezeen's shortlist of 15 studios to know in Copenhagen, as part of their coverage for UIA 2023. Copenhagen's City architect Camilla van Deurs invited Justine Bell to contribute to TOPOS magazine with focus on female architects' perspectives of the city. In an interview with Børsen Pleasure Justine discussed how materials and surfaces collect life, and how care and repair for ones home is an important topic. We look forward to the repairing, caring and restoring that all of our projects comprise.

Building The Symbiocene: Into 2023 and beyond

Our proposals for a CLT treehouse at Kew Gardens Pitys Pinetum: ⁠Roof, roots & revolution 'was inspired by the mythological metamorphosis of Pitys and the inter-species collaboration of symbiotic forest-fungal networks. Following this theme; we enjoyed the interview with Arkitektforening & Dreyers Fond START project, where we talk about the wisdom of moss and everything being a transformation.

Justine participated in the cross-disciplinary panel discussion series Agenda:EARTH by Marianne Krogh & Boris Brorman, where spatial and planetary rights were set into focus.  

We will be exhibiting the film and photographs from Harvest to House as part of CAFx film festival this year. Titled LIFEFORM: life is at the centre of 2023 CAFx, symbiosis, habitats balances & life cycles. We couldn't agree more, and have life at the centre of all we do. On the drawing board we have a wealth of life-focussed projects to look forward to this year.

Our studio has been enriched by all its members this year, we wish to thank Nick Cole, Anna Giraldi, Philip Serejo, Asger Højlund Olsen and Asger Hjorth for their input and enthusiasm. Also we wish to thank our new colleagues from Office Kim Lenshow and Johansen Skovsted, the collective studio culture that is emerging is fantastic. We look forward to welcoming Lukas Donnerup Kyndbøl to the studio as part of his KADK internship and we are thrilled to announce that Lars Juel Thiis will be joining our Advisory Board.

We wish you a regenerative 2023

Justine Bell & Jonas Djernes