With a focus on sustainable design, architect, designer, and writer Nina Edwards Anker is a founding member of New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. With training first and foremost as an architect, her contemporary architecture and design works have been widely shared. Aside from architecture, Edwards Anker has also designed solar lighting and furniture for exhibitions across the globe and picked up a few awards along the way. Though she has held teaching positions in architecture at Pratt, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, New York University Gallatin, and Sotheby’s Institute, you can currently find her as Design Director at Terreform ONE. In this Friday Five, Edwards Anker shares some favorites, including a foundation that empowers women and a daily meditation practice.
1. Theo’s Room
I look forward to the daily ritual of reading to my kids every night. The child’s room is my favorite space of innocence, love, play, learning, and imagination, where every stuffed animal has a name.
Norway is the safe place where my children sail, fish, read, ski, bake, and have no screen time. Norwegian society is humane and feminist; education and healthcare are free, and the entire month of July is spent off. I feel fortunate to have lived there for 7 years, where I was awarded my PhD in architecture (with an 8-month fully-paid maternity leave), and during which time I was inspired by the monumental landscapes of fjords and mountains, as well as Scandinavian design and architecture.
I’ve been practicing Vedic meditation for 10 years (although there were a few glitches when the children were little); I look forward to it every day. It helps me sort priorities in my life and maintain daily rhythms. Beach walks, alone or with friends, are another type of meditation for me, I do them whenever I can.
4. New Lab
Our studio has been engaging in the resources and teamwork at this innovation hub over the years. I’m honored to be one of its founding members, following New Lab’s beginnings at Flatbush Avenue all the way to this space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with soaring 180-foot ceilings. The place is teaming with energy, as it did when it was used to manufacture boats and planes during the world wars. The government has invested in New Lab as an attempt to revive the history of manufacturing, innovation, and job creation at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
5. Women Light the World
This foundation improves lives in remote parts of the world by empowering women to light homes with solar panels, one impoverished village at a time. The women are trained at Barefoot College to learn the skills of electrical engineering and installation of photovoltaic panels. By having electricity, these families gain improved levels of cleanliness and education, benefitting from time to read and clean their homes after dark. With the money the families save on electricity, they’re able to buy food for their often undernourished families.