In recent years, our international presence has grown significantly in line with the company’s strategic intentions. Underpinning the international expansion is a robust business strategy based on knowledge sharing and glocalisation with a clear local presence rather than the old “fly in, fly out” approach. The increased demand for sustainable architecture and the pursuit of climate neutrality have also fostered our internationalisation.
White Arkitekter expand internationally amid pandemic
April 23, 2021
Despite the corona pandemic, we continue to win international competitions and secure more projects outside Sweden. In 2020, we were active on three continents and the international activities accounted for over ten percent of the turnover.
Our vision that all our architecture to be climate neutral by 2030 has put us at the forefront of sustainability, transformation and timber construction – which is in high demand in our foreign markets, which are now rallying around climate.Carl Bäckstrand, Deputy CEO and responsible for White's internationalisation
– The fact that we have also been mature in digitalisation has been crucial in light of the pandemic and has enabled us to work seamlessly across offices and national borders,” says Carl Bäckstrand.
Climate Innovation District in Leeds. Photo: Citu
The recently launched New European Bauhaus initiative, in which European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen points out the crucial role of architecture in achieving the green transition, makes the timing for our expansion optimal – not least in Germany where we recently opened a new office in Stuttgart.
The direct link to the EU Green deal and Renovation Wave opens up many interesting projects where circularity, climate and health are at the centre. It is very much about transforming cities to become climate neutral and more socially sustainable. And it is in these areas that we are competitive.Carl Bäckstrand
London is our fastest growing office. They recently won the prestigious project to design the new Cambridge Children’s hospital, while the new Moorfields Eye hospital is taking shape, as well as several urban design and residential projects. Despite the pandemic and economic slowdown, London has had an exceptional year, with record turnover.
Panzi Hospital near Bukavu in Kongo.
In addition to the offices in London, Oslo and Stuttgart, we continue our strategic development of the Canadian and East African markets. Here, we are tackling the big challenges of health, climate and urbanisation, which are key gateways to the really big North American and African markets. Examples such as the World Bank-funded Panzi Hospital run by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege in the Bukavo province or the newly won contract for Montreal’s new climate-neutral Le Hippodrome district show how strong the Scandinavian expertise is.
– Our international activities have developed significantly over the past year. By working in countries with a different context to our own, we challenge our views and norms. But beyond a valuable and mutual exchange of knowledge, the international expansion is a way to secure future business by spreading our innovations in really big markets, says Carl Bäckstrand.