“The government headquarters in Oslo, Norway, centered on the iconic vertical block from 1958 by architect Erling Viksjø, was bombed by a right-wing extremist in July 2011. The ongoing discussion about the future of the damaged structure has so far been polarized: to preserve it and restore it to its former state, or to tear it down to build something new.” (Arkitertur N) In co-operation with Arkitektur N, Norway’s leading architecture magazine, 0047 has published an open call to architects, artists, and the general public to sketch their respective visions for the government district, and in particular Viksjø’s Y- and Høyblokka.
This is architectural practice NJBA A+U’s thought provoking and considered proposal for a simple memorial of raised funereal biers. As outlined it also evokes associations with the melancholic painting ‘The Abbey in the Oakwood’ by the Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich.
This is NJBA A+U’s contribution to the ‘dugnad’, (a voluntary input for the purposes of debate) organised by Markus Richter of the 0047 Gallery in Oslo. Tasked with examining the complex, its buildings and spaces the proposal sought to invoke a memory of why the place has been abandoned.
It is hard to look at Høyblokka without thinking of Caspar David Friedrich’s “The Abbey in the Oakwood”. What had been a vibrant monastery had firstly been dissolved then fell into ruin before been recycled for defensive positions. In the painting the ruin is shrouded in darkness as mourners arrive to a funeral. The trees like the ruin are also pruned, their branches amputated. The melancholy of the painting is a suitable echo of the sad events in Oslo and Utoya.
The blackened oaks are mirrored in the tall trees standing in front of Høyblokka. It seems appropriate that…
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