Perhaps at the start of the National Association of Norwegian Architects’ centennial celebrations one might wish that we could celebrate the perfection of architects, that one might say that a century of practising the profession had resulted in prefect insight and complete expertise. However, for a profession that lives on change, development and society’s need for renewal that would almost amount to a death sentence. We architects have change imprinted in our DNA. So it is with pleasure that we can state that we have a formidable job to do in front of us.
Never before in modern times have we seen such powerful and accelerating global social change. Never before have we seen such huge scale environmental change. Never before have we seen urbanisation of such intensity.
In a situation where established truths are challenged and forces may seem too great, it is all too easy to draw a line and say,”We do this. We don’t do that.” The alternative is to go out and use architecture as a way of looking at this new reality, to promote a curiosity and ambition for our profession.
The Year of Architecture does the latter. It expands, it makes possible, it cooperates, it communicates and converses. The Year of Architecture opens for a renewed presence in our society.
That is why we have a Year of Architecture.
The Year of Architecture is engagement. It is the debate about a new district in Alta. It is the Association of Trondheim Architects’ invitation to discuss city centre development. It is the conversation around the future of Europe’s cities during the Europan Conference in November. And it is a series of popular meetings about how city districts should develop in Oslo. It is Tyin Drawing Office building a community hall in Bangkok’s slums.
The Year of Architecture is creating new arenas for people to be visible and participate. It is Fantastic Norway’s architecture programmes on TV. It is the ambulatory town forum in Vestfold and the Association of Northern Norwegian Architects’ guerrilla-planting around in the centre of Tromsø. It is architecture for pupils between 13 and 16 in Flekkefjord and Norway’s unique chance to learn about architecture via Norway’s Open Houses. And it is a little writing course on architecture in Porsgrunn.
The Year of Architecture is new cooperation and meetings. It is interdisciplinary discussion in Tromsø about the future of the Arctic landscape and it is the meeting of music and architecture during the Bergen Festival. It is the meeting of the people of Oslo and architects through the Association of Oslo Architects’ city interactive Pop-Up series around and about in Oslo and the meeting of film and architecture at Trømsø Film Club.
The Year of Architecture challenges. It confronts myths about architecture in Architect News’s debate series at the House of Literature (Litteraturhuset). Myths reign as much among architects as among the population at large. And the year also points out new roles. By issuing this challenge the year prepares the way for a renewal of architectural practice.
The year is engagement, participation and the expansion of architecture. It is about taking responsibility for its presence in society. It is about escaping the bubble.
It is there you will find the Year of Architecture. It is there you will find how architecture will be practised in the future.
It is within a complex room for change architecture is created. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the forces at work in today’s world. That is why it is even more important than ever to be proactive and ambitious on behalf of the profession. That is why there is a need for space to investigate the role of architecture in a society in change.
The Year of Architecture provides such a space.
Espen Røyseland and Øystein Rø
Espen Røyseland and Øystein Rø are the project managers of the Year of Architecture 2011. They are also the managers of the Art and Architecture Gallery 0047 in Oslo and of the Europan Norway foundation. Røyseland and Rø have Masters of Architecture from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Technische Universität in Berlin.