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Jens Majdal Kaarsholm Answers the Kinship Questionnaire

The Director of Design Technology at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in Copenhagen shares his love for Lego, how heavy metal helps him focus and the best advice he's ever received.

1.    Coffee or tea?

Coffee without a doubt, and lots of it!

2.    Novels or movies?

Tricky, I don’t get to read enough these days, so I’ll have to go with movies for the time being. But I’m a huge fan of sci-fi books like Dune and Imajica.

3.    Mountain or beach?

Mountains, surely the thing we miss the most here in flat little Denmark!

4.    Favorite building?

Hmm there are many, but I’ll go with Grundtvigs Church in northern Copenhagen. It’s just mind-blowingly beautiful on the inside. It was finished in 1940, and yet the inside still looks so simplistic and timeless today.

5.    Favorite city?

I’ll have to say Copenhagen. I’m of course biased being Danish, but I honestly think it’s one of the best cities to live in. The quality of living here is just next level. And then we surround ourselves with great architecture and design, which is obviously also a big plus in my book! 
6.    Which project are you most proud of (that you’re allowed to talk about)?

There are many, but I’ll have to go with the Oceanwide Center, that I worked on while at Foster + Partners – a mixed-use mega project in downtown San Francisco. Mostly because it was quite a fundamental project in my career, a project I was leading BIM on from end of concept all the way to the end of construction documents, as one of the first full scope BIM projects of that size and complexity in the office back then. Sadly, the project is currently on hold, but I’m still hopeful that they will resume construction again at some point in the future. Fingers crossed! 🤞

Jens Majdal Kaarsholm

7.    What is your most treasured possession?

Some old rare and vintage LEGO sets from my childhood.

8.    What’s your secret skill?

When we get closer to Christmas, I really like to de-stress by designing and cutting these highly complicated pleated ‘christmas hearts’ made from glazed paper, a Danish tradition. I typically add my own twist with either different silhouette motives of small Danish birds, or sometimes even BIG projects. I know… it sounds totally random… you can check them out on my Instagram page (@kaarsholm) if you like!

9.    How would your colleagues describe you?

I hope they would use words like positive, creative, engaging, and open, but it’s a good question!

10.    Which word or phrase do you most overuse?

Not sure, but my colleagues would probably say the rocket emoji! 🚀

11.    Where are you happiest?

When traveling with my wife and daughter.

12.    What helps you focus?

Might sound odd, but I always listen to heavy metal music when I need to focus. The heavier the better! 🤘  

13.    Which habit would you most like to develop?

Getting back into the habit of going for a run every now and then. 😬
14.    Greatest achievement?

My daughter.

Jens Majdal Kaarsholm next to BIG sign

15.    What's missing from your LinkedIn profile?

A general update I think. It’s long overdue.

16.    If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?

To fly! No doubt.  

17.    If you could work remotely from anywhere in the world for a month, where would you choose?

Tricky, but since the skiing season isn’t over yet, I’ll have to go with my second home Val Thorens in France, where I used to live for a few seasons before I started my studies. I miss that place!

18.    What is a mantra you try to live by?

I’m always trying to remain positive and optimistic about things, and I strive to put on my “yes hat” when I go to work in the morning for instance.

19.    Best piece of advice you’ve received?

That everything in life acts like waves. It goes up and down, whether it’s financial markets, or your motivation at work. There are always good and bad times, but it’s important to remind yourself sometimes that there are always some good times coming around the corner.

20.    What's the best thing that could happen to you today?

If a certain aggressor would leave Ukraine alone! 💙💛   

21.    What’s your favorite app on your phone?

Tricky, but I’ll go with Google Maps, it just makes my life so much easier!

22.    What machine do you use for work?

A pretty standard laptop, nothing fancy.

Jens Majdal Kaarsholm with a co-worker

23.    If you could change one thing about Revit, what would it be?

Uhh given my involvement in the Autodesk initiatives and ‘Open Letters’ over the last couple of years, I could go on for hours about this. But if I could fix one big thing, then it would be to untangle and modernize the old underlying code behind Revit, which seems to be the root of many of the issues we are having today.

24.    Who are your favorite follows in the industry?

There are many, but I’d say guys like Marcello Sgambelluri and my good friend Håvard Vasshaug! Just to name a few.

25.    Describe the AEC industry in one word.


26.    Describe the future of construction in one word.


27.    What’s your favorite thing about working in BIM?

Seeing our projects and BIM models come out of the ground. It amazes me every single time. 

28.    What’s your least favorite buzzword in the AEC industry?

Generative Design.

Jens Majdal Kaarsholm at work
29.    What's your idea of a perfect workday?

A day with good energy, without too many meetings and too much stress, where you get to focus and get stuff done.

30.    Which historical figure would you bring back to life to have on your team at work? Why?

I’d surely revive Buckminster Fuller if I could, because of his creative, innovative, and forward-thinking mindset. And then I would have Leonardo da Vinci as my backup.
31.    If you had to choose another profession, what would it be?

Before I retire, I want to become a gardener, so that would probably be my choice.

32.    Which technology will have the biggest impact on construction in the years ahead?

I think the obvious thing to say these days would be AI, but I guess it will be in a combination with other technologies, for instance robotics.

33.    What’s the most important skill for working in BIM?

Tricky one, there are obviously several important skills depending on the role you have etc. But being able to communicate effectively and collaborate is key to any BIM process.

34.    If you could impose any rule or regulation for the construction industry, what would it be?

To stop all the stupid BIM bureaucracy that has been building up in the industry over the last decade or more. BIM should be pragmatic and provide value. We shouldn’t be forced to do additional work just for the sake of doing it, if it provides no value to anyone...or just because someone with no practical know-how theoretically thinks it’s a good idea.

35.    What's your favorite thing about Kinship?

I’m a huge fan of all the insights, data & analytics you get as a side product of running Kinship.

We hope you enjoyed this inaugural edition of the Kinship Questionnaire – our version of the Proust Questionnaire for leading users and fans of Kinship. Look out for the next edition in May.

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