Creativity is thriving in Singapore
By Martin Zoffmann
With just over 300 offices in the whole world, there’s a sea of opportunities to experience on the international scene when you work at Ramboll and enjoy improving urban liveability. And Ulrik Lassen, 31, is a good example. After three years at Ramboll, Ulrik’s second assignment abroad is well underway. Last year he worked in Überlingen in Germany and now he has joined Ramboll’s team of international water and landscape architects in Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl in Singapore.
It certainly wasn’t in the cards that Ulrik Lassen would get a job at Ramboll. He started his studies in a whole different ball park, studying the Danish language and literature for three years at the University of Copenhagen, in both Denmark and Iceland. In the same period, he had a key role as production manager for the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. But he ended up changing his tune when he decided instead to study construction engineering at the Technical University of Denmark, focusing on city planning and water.
Even though it may seem a far shot from Danish language studies and the Jazz Festival to the “engineering-magnet” of the Technical University in Lyngby, Denmark, but Ulrik says there was actually a direct link from one to the other.
“As a fairly logical thinker, I get lots of energy from working closely with creative people to turn our ideas into reality. There are many opportunities for that in the music world, but that’s also true as an engineer – especially when you work together with architects in fields such as water and urban development,” he explains.
Ulrik was hired in Ramboll in 2013, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Because at that time, services were just gearing up for urban development and water consultancy. Ulrik contributed to both cloudburst planning for Copenhagen and Frederiksberg, as well as the climate adaptation project, “The blue-green city of Kokkedal" – as well as working on more projects where engineers and water advisors collaborate with landscape architects.
2013 was also the year when Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl (then Atelier Dreiseitl) joined Ramboll. And to bring the two companies even closer together, there was an idea to send someone with a profile like Ulrik’s to work at Dreiseitl’s main office in Überlingen. His stay was a great success and contributed significantly to linking Ramboll’s engineering culture with Dreiseitl’s strong professional environment in urban development and landscape architecture, specialising in water.
After his successful stay, the managers and employees of Ramboll Dreiseitl asked him to take on a new post abroad – this time at the Studio in Singapore. And Ulrik didn’t need much time to think it over.
”We agreed on six months. Even though that was a long time to be away from my family and friends in Copenhagen, it was a great opportunity and an experience I just didn’t want to miss,” he explains.
So Ulrik packed his bags once more and landed in the middle of Singapore in January. The purpose of this stay is to land more projects where architects in Singapore and engineers from different countries could work closely together. And a goal like that goes straight to Ulrik’s heart.
”This is exactly what I want to do – to combine the creative processes with engineering services together in one package. At Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, the creative process is in focus, and the work is enormously visual. It’s so very inspiring, and together we can offer – and implement – really big masterplan projects.”
For Ulrik, a foreign stay has also been inspiring on a personal level.
”You get to experience many different work cultures. In Singapore, for example, a job is not just from nine-to-five. Especially not in the world of architecture. Here they usually work more like 10-12 hours a day. Of course, you have to find your own balance and rhythm, but it’s impossible not to get drawn into all the energy and creativity,” explains Ulrik and adds that Singapore, by the way, is a very easy country to live and work in.
He warmly recommends looking into opportunities for shorter or longer stationing abroad, and it’s probably not the last time that he’ll take on the role of professional and culture bridge-builder at Ramboll.