Future Landscapes
Design, Visualization & Photography

KADK - Masters of Architecture

The bleating chorus of disapproval.


The jealous peasants are at it again.

Trying to keep all those self-motivated, heads-above-the-group individuals trampled down and back where they belong (amongst the swirling crush of mediocrity).

Honestly, I ask you. Is it such a bad thing to want to work individually.... from home?

If you attend school here, the answer is YES.

This is what I call jantelov in action.

"The Jante Law refers to a pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities, which negatively portrays and criticizes success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate.

Generally used colloquially as a sociological term to negatively describe an attitude towards individuality and success claimed to be common in Scandinavia, it refers to a supposed snide, jealous and narrow small-town mentality which refuses to acknowledge individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while punishing those who stand out as achievers.

The term may be used by those individuals who feel they are not allowed to take credit for their achievements, or to point out their belief that another person is being overly critical."

Read More Here.

Let's review the statutes of Jante Law.

  1. Don't think that you are special.
  2. Don't think that you are of the same standing as others.
  3. Don't think that you are smarter than others.
  4. Don't fancy yourself as being better than others.
  5. Don't think that you know more than others.
  6. Don't think that you are more important than others.
  7. Don't think that you are good at anything.
  8. Don't laugh at others.
  9. Don't think that any one of us cares about you.
  10. Don't think that you can teach others anything.

"OTHERS" being Danish people. Or anyone currently residing here, according to my department head.

Here's where I describe why I'm in a snit. 

Just had a meeting with the other master's students and the department head to discuss how the first year has gone, and what the next year will be like.

The disaster began when we started with a roundtable of positives and potential areas for improvement. I said, I liked that the projects were largely individual and allowed a high degree of freedom to work within your interests. And that the schedule was really great for a master's level to let us develop our designs to their potential.

My suggestion was thus:

"Could we maybe have more open communication regarding when the instructors are going to be at school to talk with us? For those of us who live far away or work from home and come in only twice a week, it would be good if we could know exactly which days and at what time to come, so we don't waste time waiting for a whole day to talk to the instructor.'

Oh dear.

Bad, bad, bad Stephanie. BAD!

This caused a veritable cuss-storm of anger, directed at ME. Comments summarized in below rant.

What the cuss do I think I'm doing, working from home? That's a problem. A Big Problem. Working from home? What are you? Some kind of Anti-Social Freak? You know, when you get a Danish Education, people expect you to know how to work together in commune with others. We hate to say it, but All Danish Firms work in an Open Office with all sorts of Noise and Distractions that you better just Get Used To. If you 'CAN'T DEAL' with working in the studio and need to be at home to focus and be productive, you're going to be in for it when you get to work.

We're Grooming you to become a good, collective-minded Danish Worker. 

[No, there's nothing wrong with my caps lock. Random capitalization is on purpose].

This is all very concerning, Us Danish instructors are Shocked and Distressed that you would consider working from home at all. 

Stephanie, it is a Proven Fact that people who start by working on their own, even though they may initially do 'Well', are going to decline over time. And people who suck architecture balls in the beginning, will magically incline towards perfection by dint of working at the studio engaging in Glorious Fellow Learning with their Peers. You better shape up, you, or you will Fail, not just at school, but at Life.



The cloud of animosity surrounding this subject.... astounded me. All I did was ask an innocent question about scheduling time slots to speak with instructors. And I got a full on 20 minute, multi-student backlash on why I am WRONG to work from home.

Seems a little... out of context. But okay.

What followed this? Individual testimonials of the converted.

Student 1: 'Back in my bachelor, I used to work a lot from home too. But I quickly saw my work declining. Now I get up at 6am to be in the studio for at least 12 full hours. It's not a productive day if I haven't seen the sun rise and set from my studio window.'

Student 2: 'I think your problem is that you got used to working from home. Studio isn't all bad, you know. If you find it distracting during the day, maybe you should try being in studio at night. When I'm here at 10pm, it's the best place on earth and I get all my inspiration.'

Student 3: 'I agree with everyone else. The studio is the bomb diggity. Me and Student 2 talk all the time about our projects and, well, we still don't actually have anything despite it being the end of the semester, but the social aspect of it is really good. Maybe you need to be here just to socialize more. You should join us on our 2 hour lunch some time.

You know what this is? Group reinforcement of the status quo. 

Following this, I raised my hand again and said:

"I might be more inclined to work here if I had a partition wall and more personal space to work."

Commence a further 10 minute regaling of how we have SO MUCH SPACE TO WORK HERE and at everyone's PREVIOUS school, they didn't even have a hole in the floor, let alone a desk. We are super duper blessed and should be kissing the feet of the school administrators for giving us desks, in their grand gestures of generosity. We have the best facilities for master's students on the face of the planet. The Best. Is 'The Best' not Good Enough for you, Stephanie? And what is it exactly that you want, that can make you happy, hmm?

Obviously my disturbing comments were worthy of a public tongue-lashing. That's fine with me, it just reinforces that my fellow students are exactly the opposite of inspiring, and I will continue doing what works for me.

I'm 25 years old and I don't like onions. I've been through 6 years of post-secondary and I know how I work. There are certain facts of existence that just ain't gonna change. Onions, one. Avoiding studio, two.