Oslo might not have a Gherkin or a Casa da Musica yet, but don’t let that fool you; architectural thought has been thriving in the Nordic capital, leading up to this year’s
Oslo Architecture Triennale, launched only a few days ago. The third triennial festival has been arranged by NAL (National Association of Norwegian Architects) and curated by Space Group architect Gary Bates, with Alexandra Cruz, in collaboration with Norsk Form, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, OAF and Oslo Teknopol. Its chosen theme 'Risk' reveals, by its title alone, the Scandinavian country’s concerns and aspirations.
Click here for more images of projects exhibited at the Triennale.
The Triennale opened last Thursday at the Jensen & Skodvin-designed DogA, the country’s Design and Architecture centre, where the main exhibition 'Culture of Risk' is also on show till mid-November. Through a calmingly dark audiovisual installation room unfolds the central gallery space’s information: from up-and-coming Belgian Julien de Smedt, to caravan-based architecture duo Fantastic Norway and Wallpaper*-featured Jarmund Visgnaes (see W*102), the architects showcase projects touching on various aspects of risk in architecture and engineering - from the Norwegians’ cabin culture, Oslo’s airport
transformation, coastline and border studies, to bridges and the imposing Oslo City Hall.
Rich with photographs, panels, designs and impressive models, the exhibition was unveiled on the busy first night, the model and visualisations of de Smedt’s recent winning design for the Holmenkollen Ski Jump – an all-risk-type-incorporating project - heading the show.
Of course there is much more to see: the 'Urban without Urbanity' exhibition at the Oslo School of Architecture includes experimental workshop projects from seven Scandinavian architecture schools, exploring risk-taking in the more understated areas of the fast-developing Nordic urban landscape; the festival’s conference elaborated on risk in architecture and engineering, featuring names such as Cecil Balmond and Ellen van Loon (OMA), including a discussion chaired by Kjetil Traedal Thorsen of Snohetta, and an inspiring talk by Russia’s unique craftsman, artist and architect Alexander Brodsky; while B-Sides, the special edition of Arkitektur N, which will keep your diary up-to-scratch with the architecture that never ended-up getting built in Norway – non-winning competition designs by the likes of Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito and Behnisch, Behnisch and Partner.
Norway may be one of the champions of world peace – it is also home to the Nobel Prize Centre – and Oslo may be one of the safest cities to live in, but even there, in architecture, risk is simply unavoidable. 'We wanted to create an experimental laboratory for Norwegian architecture', said the organisers on the opening night, 'the world is looking at Norway'.