Under 40

This is the fourth exhibition to focus on young architects in Norway. The first was in the Galleri Rom in 1988; the second in 1998 focused on 20 architects under the age of 40 and in 2004 the newly established National Museum repeated the format of 20 under 40. The present exhibition at the National Museum of Architecture looks at the work of 11 young architects or partnerships. 

Several major themes emerge. All the architects appear to take on board concerns about sustainability and conservation but new ideas look at integration ... the relevance and importance of good architecture to society.

Two entries were selected for display on a larger scale with large installations in the Fehn pavilion. 

“House of a Medley of Norwegian Birds” by Huus og Heim Arkitektur is simple but very beautiful with wood bird boxes suspended in the space. Each represents a different Norwegian bird whose environment and therefore whose survival is under threat. Each has a sensor that when tripped, by someone walking near, plays the calls of the bird. The whole gallery was filled with bird song. Really beautiful.

Atelier Oslo in their exhibit is concerned about how we relate to space rather than how we relate to nature. “A steady increase in rules and regulations is forcing contemporary architecture to adopt proportions and forms of standardisation that take us ever further away from the dimensions of the human body.” Their installation in pale plywood creates a series of complex spaces with steps and platforms of different heights and curved internal surfaces reached by narrow openings that you have to squeeze through making you very aware of the width and height of the linked spaces as you explore them.

In installations by other architects, including those by Strusshamn, Laa Toyen AS and SFOSL AS, there is a clear concern to reassess vernacular architecture to produce housing that is appropriate to its Norwegian landscape and a historic context. Several of the projects show buildings with cruciform plans or angled and glazed ends that engage with specific views out.