Architecture news: Letter from Norway
Although diverse in physical form, Norwegian architecture seems to have one dominant theme – nature and man’s place in it. Good Norwegian architects excel at building harmonic structures in difficult terrain – and the end result is often poetic. Cottages grow out of rocky surfaces, as do roadside rest areas or public buildings, scattered across the landscape as if placed by an act of God. 'Recently, we have noticed that Norwegian architecture is the subject of an enormous increase in attention from the international public,' says Nina Berre, director at Norsk Form
see our report on the best of recent Norwegian architecture
In particular, the ongoing National Tourist Route project has caused an international stir thanks to the touring exhibition “Detour” (soon to be shown at Washington DC’s National Building Museum until May 25th 2009.
As the exhibition demonstrated, the Norwegian government is keen to use architecture as an overall tool for national development and is currently defining an all-embracing national architectural policy. In a historic process a grand total of thirteen state departments are co-operating to formulate a platform document, helping shape the Norwegian state’s architectural activities for the years to come. The new guidelines are expected to include lessons learned recent architectural experimentation, as well as uniting and renewing future national projects where architecture has played a key part.
The country's increasingly dense urban environments are being reshaped and redefined, and issues surrounding public housing provision are at the forefront of the debate. 'With an anticipated surge in the elderly population it is hoped that the new architecture policy will have a positive effect on design solutions for the elderly and infirm,' says Nine Berre, 'Were also keen to see an emphasis on eco-friendly sustainable architectural solutions.'
Right now, the best Norwegian architecture continues the landscape tradition, fusing sustainable design into some of the world's most spectacular scenery, and demonstrating that even mundane structures need never be less than exhilarating.