Reiulf Ramstad started his own practice in 1995, the same year he became father of twins. The office turned out to be a third child and Kristin Ramstad, his wife, has become Managing Director of the firm. While specialization is a common concern within the professional community, the firm demonstrates an ability to create good architecture in highly diverse projects and locations. If asked what is the focus of his work, he would answer “Quality”.
Reiulf Ramstads architectural education took place in Venice, but only after realizing that he wouldn’t reach the top as a ballet dancer. Living in Venice was the experience of a modern man – living on the water, without a car in a constant symbiosis with the landscape. Although the school lacked in organization, it endorsed an unrestrained academic debate around inspiring figures like Aldo Rossi and Carlo Scarpa.
The early times as an architect in Norway were difficult. The firm applied to different competitions promoted by public institutions but was seldomly prequalified. Reiulf describes himself as a strange bird who was forced to develop projects that few colleagues were interested in. These challenges were vital to find the direction for the practice and to learn not to take anything for granted. It has also helped to make him critical to a world where everything is pre-accepted, which he believes hinders innovation.
Project by project Reiulf Ramstad’s practice began to be recognized. Østfold University College was the first project to be nominated for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe award, later followed by the project for the national tourist route in Trollstigen. Today RRA is an international reference of the contemporary Norwegian architecture developing projects in multiple locations around the world.
If you weren’t in the architecture field, what would you be doing?
Using one word, how would you describe yourself?
What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. Yes, I have read it many times and it’s a very poetic book.