Regin Schwaen

Associate Professor of Architecture

Phone: 701-231-5793


M. Arch. Arkitektskolen i Aarhus, Denmark, 1992

H. F. (Higher Preparatory Examination) Aarhus Seminarium, Denmark, 1985

T. A. (Technical Assistant in Building and Construction) Horsens Tekniske Skole, Denmark, 1982

Research and Interest:

Seven years of professional practice with more than twenty years experience in architectural education, lectures, work-shops, and applied research with a focus on minimal structures in concrete, ferro-cement, and fabric form.

Selected Publications and Recent Research:

"Structure & Pedagogics - or how to teach structure in architecture," in Convergence + Confluence, BTES Conference (Building Technology Educators' Society), Toronto (2011) pp. 283-290

"1000 bricks or how can a modular system address knowledge, craft, art and pedagogy at the same time?"

Poster Presentation, ACSA, 2009 Southeast Fall Conference at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

The poster was published in the book Architecture is a Thing of Art. Savannah College of Art and Design (2009) pp. 374-375

"Ivan Léonidov and the Parachute Pavilion" in Coney Island: The Parachute Pavilion Competition, Princeton Architectural Press (2007) 

"Systems, proportions, blocks and shadows" an installation was published in the The Secret of the Shadow – Light and Shadow in Architecture, Deutsches Architektur Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2002) p.199


MAA (Danish Architects' Association), Copenhagen, Denmark

Professional Experience:

Director and owner of K.A.L.K. in Copenhagen, Denmark. 1995 – 2000

Project architect at the office of Oswald Mathias Ungers GmbH in Berlin, Germany. 1993 – 1995

Founding director and trustee of the architectural magazine B. 1987 – 1997

Professional Memberships:

Member of BTES (Building Technology Educators' Society), Moscow, Idaho

Member of Society of Art (Kunstnersamfundet)

Royal Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen, Denmark

Courses Taught:

ARCH 344 Architectural Structures I

ARCH 371 Architectural Design III

ARCH 372 Architectural Design IV

ARCH 471 Architectural Design V

ARCH 724 Architectural Technology

ARCH 772 Fifth year thesis

Teaching Experience:

Studio Design Lecturer, School of Architecture, Royal Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1995-2000

Associate Professor, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, 2000-2007

Associate Professor, NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, 2007-present


Ask Me

Who are your role models or inspiring folks?

Architects such as Sverre Fehn, Sigurd Lewerentz, and Jørn Utzon are all exceptionally great Scandinavian designers that shape light in a profound way. Their projects have beautiful moments for life and wellbeing, always merging art, landscape, texture, time, nature and architecture. I am also very inspired when I visit projects by Alvar Aalto from Finland, Carlo Scarpa from Italy, and Louis Kahn from the United States.


Outside of art and design fields, what inspires you?

I have done quite a lot of mountaineering, biking and sailing. However, I never did this on a big scale but visited often Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. It was always a question of scrambling, and not doing anything too technical. I think the main reason is contemplation or becoming one with nature. Friends always rushed to the top of the mountain and found me hopelessly romantic: Always dwelling with my camera along the path or using too much time sketching. I am somehow obsessed with details in nature and can use hours just looking at rocks, colors, or clouds.


What do you wish you had known when you started out as a student/in this field?

I had great teachers. They always encouraged me to travel. I feel that books or photos by other people are impossible, because an architect really only can learn by visiting the building or a city. I still think so when looking at my large collection of books. It is cumbersome to travel but it also about life. Architecture is specific to site. It is part of the ground and is geological by nature. Architectural ideas are like a reflection within a diamond, but it take years to construct an excellent building and can really only be done in teams. I wish that I had been given a better understanding that architects are best when working together. 


What was your most memorable meal? 

The writing of Karen Blixen is of course the best. I am thinking about her wonderful book Babette's Feast that also inspired a film of the same name. However, I was slightly unprepared for this meal: I had to go and purchase a new pair of shoes and nice pants, because the restaurant was not going to let me accompany my marvelous wife if I did not have a proper attire. We visited the ½ scale replica of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas. Here a French sous chef prepared an amazing chocolate soufflè that had to be ordered unusually early. This was then delivered to the table at the exact right time after the main menu. It is the best chocolate soufflè I ever had. 


In your office, you can only have three things, one book, one tool, and one picture. What would they be and why?

The book should be: Taking Measures Across the American Landscape by James Corner. The tool: An ice axe forged in titanium. The picture: Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer) by the German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich, because this is in essence what I do. I almost selected the mechanical fixpencil Caran d`Arch, it is Swiss made of course and maybe more perceived as an instrument, so if I had to select a tool, in the very second before everything disappears, I would select the titanium ice axe and then go and find the last glacier.

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