After studying urban design in Denmark, I began working as an architectural guide. Through participants on tours, I was given the opportunity to write an article introducing architectural tours in Denmark in the magazine “Cityscape and Culture” Vol. 61, published by the NPO Town Design Aid, Japan (TDA). NPO景観デザイン支援機構 –> 機関紙『景観文化』 (tda-j.or.jp)
NPO Town Design Aid, Japan
・composed mainly of practical experts with extensive experience in community development. They collaborate with residents, companies, and governments to support activities focused on cityscape design, contributing broadly to society. (Translated from their website)
・organizes professional seminars in Japan, publish the magazine “Cityscape and Culture”
・built up strong connections with urban design/planning experts in Korea through the “Japan-Korea Urban Design Exchange Meeting” since 2014.
Source/Reference:：： NPO景観デザイン支援機構 ：： (tda-j.or.jp)
Thankfully, I have obtained permission to republish the contributed article on my personal blog. Therefore, I am introducing it here as well. (Due to republishing, the structure differs from other articles on the blog.)
Scaledenmark is a company based in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, and organizes architectural tours. It belongs to Guiding Architects, the world’s largest network of architectural tours led by architects. Scaledenmark collaborates with representatives from different countries, exchanging information and helping each other (They welcome a qualified new member from Tokyo). Independently, Scaledenmark accepts clients from approximately 15 countries, including companies, educational institutions, and local governments, primarily in Europe. In the years 2022 and 2023, they have conducted around 125-150 half-day tours each year.
Scaledenmark was founded in 2004 by Bo Christiansen and Vibeke Grupe Larsen. Both studied architecture at Denmark’s notable Royal Danish Academy, at the same period. Currently led by Christiansen, the team consists of 14 freelance architectural guides, including the author. These guides, educated in architecture, urban planning, and landscape planning, usually work at architectural firms or run their own studios. When commissioned by Christiansen, they work as architectural guides.
The author was introduced to Christiansen by Tomonori Makita, who has worked as an environmental engineer in Copenhagen for about ten years. Christiansen has had a great interest in Japan for a long time and expressed a desire to organize tours for Japanese clients, leading the author to collaborate with him.
Two notable aspects emerged while the author worked as an architectural guide. First, the emphasis on consulting during tours. Second, the importance of storytelling.
Regarding consulting, adequate preparation time is crucial. To secure the preparation time, Scaledenmark has a policy to book tours at latest one month before the scheduled date, with the payment of the tour fee (Generally, applications less than a month before the tour are declined. Many tours are often planned a year before). This approach, focusing on consulting tailored to each client’s needs rather than repeating standardized tourist routes, enhances the additional value of architectural tours by Scaledenmark.
As for storytelling, Christiansen emphasized the significance of conveying stories in an area and a narrative throughout the tour, rather than listing information, which is currently all available on the internet. To facilitate communication, each group is limited to a maximum of 12 people (additional groups are formed for more than 12 participants). The guiding principle of the tours is expressed by the term “edutainment” (a combination of education and entertainment).
I would like to introduce operations as well. All the tour inquiries are handled by Christiansen via email. He coordinates the dates and details of the tour, as well as a guiding architect for the day (As for inquiries from Japan, the author coordinates with Christiansen). In Copenhagen, a tour plan is developed based on ten standard courses divided by area (each lasting four hours on average). Reflecting clients’s interests, the tour is arranged with variations such as incorporating interior tours or expanding areas. Scaledenmark also conducts architectural tours in Aarhus, the second-largest city in Denmark, and Bornholm recognized as the most sustainable island in Europe. Regardless of the location, the tour fee is common for half-day (4 hours) or full-day (8 hours) tours.
During the study at Aalborg University, the author realized that Danish universities prioritize the application of newly acquired knowledge through several trials and errors, such as playing with clay (just memorizing the whole formulas is not appreciated). The author could see this practical learning approach contributes significantly to innovation in society. Scaledenmark transformed the knowledge of city and architecture into a consulting service based on dialogues. The author envisions that if architectural tours become more popular in Japan, serving as platforms to consider participants’ specialized challenges, this could contribute to the creation of higher-quality cityscapes and more liveable cities beyond numerical regulations.