The National Museum of Norway’s decision to focus on the home during 2018 is rooted in the major changes that have taken place in Norwegian housing construction and residential architecture in the past couple of decades.
The exhibition “House Viewing” at the National Museum Architecture in Oslo is displayed in the Ulltveit-Moe Pavilion designed by Sverre Fehn and focuses on the current situation in Oslo with references to Copenhagen and Vienna.
In parallel with the “House Viewing” exhibition un the glass pavilion, the re-designed permanent exhibition “Housing Design” provides a historical backdrop by presenting a selection of residential projects from the past 100 years.
The exhibitions are curated by Eva Madshus and Talette Rørvik in collaboration with Ole Haudernack and Marianne Yvenes.
House viewing in Oslo – Background
Since the 2000s, Oslo has been one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, and the quality of the developments has been the subject of heated debates in all imaginable for a and media over recent years. Aside from arguments about quality, the debate has been dominated by the high prices of homes and the level of speculative development.
The reason to choose two non-Norwegian cities, Copenhagen and Vienna, is the reputation enjoyed for many years by Danish architects for their quality and housing design, while Vienna since the 1920s has been a role model for social housing in Europe.
Related: The World is Looking to Oslo
Housing and welfare in Copenhagen
Every month, 1,000 people relocate to the Copenhagen metropolitan area, more than 10,000 newcomers every year. Owner-occupied dwellings dominate the market and are being constructed on the city’s most valuable spots. In consequence, land prices, urban density, and building heights are all increasing.
The city authorities are attempting to counter this trend by imposing a requirement that 25 percent of the habitable floor space in new developments must be allocated for social housing. Housing in the owner-occupied sector tends to be uniform and pragmatic, if not downright speculative.
However, experimental approaches to housing design can be found in conversions and extensions of existing buildings. Trends also exist in contemporary Copenhagen social housing, as was the case back in the 1970s and 80s with the move towards low-density development and flat-share movement.
Contemporary strategies are vital for ensuring sustainability socially, culturally and in the use of resources.
Related: Exporting Norwegian Architecture
Urban housing architecture in Oslo today: how did we get here?
In 1954 architect Frode Rinnan explained the evolution of standard housing in Oslo: “When homes are mass-produced there will always be a tendency to produce a particular main type…that responds best to the economic conditions of the period and is most in accord with contemporary lifestyles.”
He was thinking particularly of apartment layouts, but the “Rinnan’s Law” temped also to explain to cover the entire house setting, where it is built. After reviewing the typical features of housing construction in Oslo and having shown how “Rinnan’s Law” most probably applies today, it appears that market-driven densification is still the main driving factor.
House Viewing in Oslo
House Viewing in Oslo, is extracted from the exhibition’s catalogue, written by Nina Berre, Eva Madshus, Peder DueLund Mortensen and Jon Guttu.
The exhibition is open through 18 November 2018.
All photos: Tor Kjolberg