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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Nordic Architecture

For my final blog of the year I thought I would feature Nordic architecture, the perfect thing to highlight in December. A few years ago I wrote a blog on both Hygge (meaning: cozy and comfy) and Lagom (meaning: living with just the right amount) both Nordic terms, but I never actually touched on Nordic architecture. It is known for its clean lines and functionality and the themes of sustainability and embracing the environment.

Bjarke Ingels BIG

We have already highlighted Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG, the design team behind KING Toronto and the Shangri-La Hotel and Residences.

BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes. Not least due to the influence from multicultural exchange, global economical flows and communication technologies that all together require new ways of architectural and urban organization. We believe that in order to deal with today’s challenges, architecture can profitably move into a field that has been largely unexplored. A pragmatic utopian architecture that steers clear of the petrifying pragmatism of boring boxes and the naïve utopian ideas of digital formalism. Like a form of programmatic alchemy we create architecture by mixing conventional ingredients such as living, leisure, working, parking and shopping. By hitting the fertile overlap between pragmatic and utopia, we architects once again find the freedom to change the surface of our planet, to better fit contemporary life forms.

KING Toronto Architectural Model

Todd Saunders

In addition to Ingels, there are many other significant Nordic architects to highlight, starting with Todd Saunders of Saunders Architecture. Saunders was born in Canada and is the genius behind Newfoundland and Labrador’s iconic Fogo Island Inn and Squish Studio on Fogo Island.

Fogo Island Inn

Saunders Architecture was founded by the Canadian architect Todd Saunders in 1998. Saunders has lived and worked in Bergen since 1996, following his studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax and McGill University in Montreal. Saunders has lectured and taught at schools in Norway, Scandinavia and Canada and was a visiting professor at The University of Quebec in Montreal and Cornell University in the USA. He continues to combine teaching with practice. Source:

The philosophy of Saunders Architecture is described below.

Bringing together dynamic building and material experimentation with traditional methods of craft, Bergen-based Saunders Architecture has worked on cultural and residential projects right across Norway, as well as England, Denmark, Italy, Sweden and Canada.

Led by a strong contemporary design sensibility, the studio believes that architecture must play an important role in creating place, using form, materials and texture to help evoke and shape memory and human interaction. The office operates within existing natural as well as manmade contexts, with examples ranging from an award nominated dramatic viewpoint structure set amidst a rich protected landscape to several new-build houses within more traditional suburban settings.

Squish Studio, Fogo Island

It is so nice to have Canadian talent on the world architectural platform! It is clear Fogo Island Inn and Squish Studio are integrated into their environment, yet still provide striking architecture, views of the surroundings and both Hygge and Lagom.


Asante is another firm worth noting. Asante means ‘thank you’ in Swahili, and that is the premise to Asante’s architectural practise, thanking mother earth.

We believe that architecture and design plays an integral role when creating a sustainable environment. To us, great design is the use of durable and authentic materials with an understanding of specific environmental and cultural conditions. For all projects, at any scale, great design means caring for the people you are building for. Asante means thank you in Swahili, the name was chosen as a sign of gratitude for our first project to design a new children’s center for Econef, an organization in Tanzania, a project that founded the philosophy behind Asante. Asante Architecture & Design is located in Stockholm, Sweden and was established by Frida Öster and Carolina Wikström shortly after they graduated from the Royal Institute of Technology. The idea for Asante was first conceived when they both returned to Stockholm from their studies abroad, Frida from Paris and Carolina from Berlin. Today it is a studio on the rise with the vision of creating beautiful and sustainable architecture and design wherever the opportunity arises.

A great example of Asante’s work is Hadar’s House which was featured in ArchDaily. It blends beautifully into the landscape, including the green roof.

I have highlighted just a few noted Nordic architects. More can be found in the link below.

Famous Scandinavian Architects

I wish everyone a lovely holiday with plenty of Hygge as we all stay in our bubbles this Christmas season. Stay well, and we hopefully will have some normalcy for 2021.


Helen Braithwaite, Real Estate Representative, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited Chairman’s Award 2017-2020