Wednesday, 29 July 2009

What to see: Ulriksdal Palace, Solna

Ulriksdal is one of the ten royal palaces in Sweden and can be found by Edsviken in the municipality of Solna just north of Stockholm. The first palace there was a Renaissance structure built in the 1640s, probably by the architect Hans Jacob Kristler, for Jakob De la Gardie and named Jakobsdal after him. In 1669 it was bought by Dowager Queen Hedvig Eleonora, who later presented it to her grandson Prince Ulrik at the time of his christening in 1684. It then received the new name Ulriksdal, but sadly the prince died at the age of one.
Hedvig Eleonora’s reconstruction of Ulriksdal, carried out by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, was never completed and the current palace is mostly a result of a great rebuilding done by Carl Hårleman on behalf of her granddaughter, Queen Ulrika Eleonora, in the years 1727-1729. That was when two projecting wings were added on the side which faces towards the park and the roof was supplied with a lantern. It later became one of the favourite residences of King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika and the Dowager Queen Sophia Magdalena lived there from 1808 until her death in 1813.
King Carl XIV Johan, who had been a Marshal of the French Empire, in 1822 created a home for invalid veterans of the 1808-1809 war with Russia at Ulriksdal, inspired by the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris. For the happy reason that Sweden has not been at war since 1814, the number of veterans soon dwindled and in 1849 the remaining few were moved to Danviken Hospital.
In 1856 Ulriksdal again became a royal residence when the future King Carl XV and his wife Lovisa moved in. Today Ulriksdal is first and foremost Carl XV’s palace. King Carl dreamed of the days when Sweden had been a great power and collected furniture and other items from that period. His collection was installed at Ulriksdal, which means that most of the interiors are still in a Renaissance/ mock 16th century style. The joint Swedish-Norwegian arms can still be found above the main entrance, as the fourth photo shows.
His sister-in-law, Queen Sophia, received Ulriksdal as a dower house on the death of Oscar II in 1907, but did not leave many marks on the palace, where she lived in the south wing. Three years after her death, in 1916, her grandson, the future Gustaf VI Adolf, and his wife Margareta, were given the right of disposition and began a reconstruction which was interrupted when the Crown Princess suddenly died in 1920. In 1923 Gustaf Adolf remarried and the architect Sigge Cronstedt created a home for him and Crown Princess Louise at Ulriksdal.
Their footprints are most visible in what had been Carl XV’s “Hall of Knights” – there the dark interior was torn out and the room was transformed to a modern living room. The interior, designed by Carl Malmsten, was a wedding present from the people of Stockholm to the newlyweds and was the first room in a Swedish royal palace to be called a living room rather than a drawing room.
Malmsten considered it the ideal living room and obviously the royal couple agreed. Gustaf VI Adolf stayed at Ulriksdal regularly until 1972, the year before his death, and changed next to nothing in the living room in those nearly fifty years. After his death, time has stood still there – the newspapers from 1972 are still on the table and his and Louise’s monogram as crown prince and crown princess can still be found on the cast-iron gate (photo 5).
In the summer of 1940, Crown Princess Märtha of Norway and her three children in great secrecy stayed at Ulriksdal for several weeks after escaping the Nazi occupation of their country and before going on to the USA. Since 1986 Ulriksdal is open to the public and is occasionally used by the royal family for various events, such as Princess Madeleine’s 25th birthday party in 2007. WWF, which is close to the King of Sweden’s heart, is housed in the south wing of the palace.
There are several other buildings of interest in the park. The orangery (sixth picture) was built in 1693-1705 by the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger (best known for the Royal Palace in Stockholm) and is the oldest orangery in Sweden. In this reign it has been transformed into a museum for Swedish sculpture. The theatre Confidencen was founded by Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1753 and is as such the oldest operating theatre in the country. Villa Beylon, which can be glimpsed in the seventh photo, was built in 1802-1804 and was until recently the home of Princess Christina, who now lives in Stockholm. Certain parts of the media were convinced that Villa Beylon would be become the married home of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling, but they settled for Haga Palace.
The Palace Chapel, seen in the last picture, was built by Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander in 1864-1865 and consecrated on the name day of Queen Lovisa on 25 August 1865 – it therefore used to be known as Queen Lovisa’s Chapel. Carl XV himself took an active part in creating the chapel, which is built in what the architect called “Dutch Renaissance”, inspired by the fact that Queen Lovisa was Dutch by birth. Their daughter Lovisa, later Queen of Denmark, was confirmed there in 1868.
When Carl XV fell seriously ill, he felt that he had not achieved much in his short reign and was not worthy of being buried with his predecessors in the Riddarholm Church. He therefore asked to be buried in the Palace Chapel at Ulriksdal. However, his brother and successor, Oscar II, duly had him buried in the Riddarholm Church with the other kings and queens of Sweden.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

What to see: Ulefos Manor, Ulefoss

Ulefos Manor in the county of Telemark ranks among the most important Empire style buildings in Norway – the others being the Royal Palace and the old University in Oslo and possibly Fossum Manor near Skien.
In 1775 the property was bought by Nicolai Benjamin Aall (who belonged to a Danish family which had migrated to Norway through Britain) together with the rich landowning brothers Bernt, Jess and Peder Anker. Aall earned a fortune through timber trade and in 1782 he bought out the Ankers. It was his son, Niels Aall (1769-1854), who decided to build a stately home at Ulefoss. Work began in 1800, was concluded seven years later and cost an equivalent of nearly 14 million NOK in today’s money worth. A bust of Niels Aall now stands in front of the building (photo 1).
The identity of the architect is not fully clear. In the first book published on Ulefos (in 1940) Wilhelm Swensen named Jørgen Henrik Rawert (1751-1823) as the architect who made the final drawings after Aall himself and his friend Christian Collett (1771-1833) had made preliminary sketches. But in his recent book on Ulefos, Jo. Sellæg argues that Collett was most likely the actual architect, with Rawert just being consulted or perhaps making some changes or corrections to the design.
Situated on a hill above the Telemark Canal and surmounted by a cupola, the inspiration from Andrea Palladio’s La Rotonda just outside Vicenza is quite obvious. Niels Aall had travelled in England and among the works of English Palladianism Chiswick House (by Lord Burlington, begun around 1725) in London has been mentioned as a possible influence.
The most important room is the Garden Hall, which has been called “the most beautiful room in Norway” by the art historian Carsten Hopstock – who also considers Ulefos and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello to be the two most beautiful buildings in the world. A picture of the Garden Hall can be seen here (external link). The chairs and sofas were bought from London in 1805, but were badly damaged in a great fire at Ulefos in 1961. The new covers come from France and are, surprisingly for this house, decorated with the Napoleonic bees.
The wall paintings are done by the Swedish artist and officer Count Axel Otto von Mörner, who sat at Ulefos as a prisoner of war in 1808-1809 after having been captured at the Battle of Toverud. He later returned on behalf of King Carl XIII to try and convince Niels Aall of the advantages of a union between Sweden and Norway, but Aall refused to listen to such schemes.
Norway was at the time a part of the Danish Kingdom, but when the country achieved independence in 1814 Niels Aall was appointed minister of trade by King Christian Frederik, while both his brothers (Jacob and Jørgen) were members of the Constitutional Assembly. Later that year Niels Aall was sent on an ambassadorial mission to London to secure British recognition for Norway. He did not succeed, but following the short war between Sweden and Norway that summer, Aall and another minister, Jonas Collett, negotiated a treaty (the Convention of Moss) with the Swedes whereby Sweden and Norway in November 1814 did after all form a personal union.
There is a so-called “King’s Bedroom” next to the Garden Hall – like many great manors Ulefos kept such a room ready if the King should pass by. Both King Haakon VII and King Olav V have slept there and among other notable visitors are Prince Eugen and his second cousin the Prince Imperial, who visited together in 1878 and left signed photographs.
Even though Niels Aall had been firmly opposed to a union with Sweden and refused to continue as a minister after the union had been agreed upon, his descendants came to serve the Swedish-Norwegian royal family. His son Hans Aall became a member of King Carl XIV Johan’s court and among his duties was translating Norwegian newspapers into French for the French-born King.
In 1903 Hans Aall’s grandson, Cato Aall, the then lord of the manor, was appointed “kammerherre” (chamberlain) at the Norwegian court by King Oscar II. His chamberlain’s uniform and key (fifth photo) are still exhibited in another building at the manor, together with the letter of appointment. When the union was unilaterally dissolved by Norway in 1905, Cato Aall was one of the few Norwegian courtiers who stayed loyal to Oscar II – he did not wish to serve another king and therefore resigned as chamberlain.
In 1943 Cato Aall and his wife Eugenie drew up a will whereby they made Ulefos Manor into a foundation in order to preserve it for the future. In 1989 their daughter-in-law Karen Aall opened the house for guided tours, even though she continued to live there until shortly before her death at the age of 96 in November 2007. With her two sisters she had herself donated their ancestral home, Bogstad Manor in Oslo, to a foundation and she used to quote her mother that “Bogstad does not belong to us, it is just ours on loan”, saying that the same applied to Ulefos.

Monday, 27 July 2009

What to see: Villa Fridhem, Åby

Long time ago Fridhem in the county of Ostrogothia was famous in Sweden as well as abroad as the country house of Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, where they every summer used to gather their children and grandchildren from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium.
Shortly after their 1897 marriage, Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg acquired Parkudden at Djurgården in Stockholm as a summer house. But they were not entirely satisfied with it and in 1909 they bought a plot of land near Getå, where the famous architect Ferdinand Boberg (1860-1946) built them a new summer house in 1909-1910. They chose the name Fridhem, meaning “Peaceful Home” or “Home of Peace”.
The house is huge and sits on a hillside with a great view over the bay Bråviken. The drawing room (fourth photo) and dining room (fifth picture) were on the ground floor with the hall (sixth photo), while the family members had their rooms on the first floor, with guest rooms and rooms for the staff on the second floor. Easter, summer and Christmas were always spent at Fridhem. The rest of the year they lived in Stockholm; yet they came to consider Fridhem their main home.
The first of the children to marry was Princess Margaretha, who wedded Prince Axel of Denmark in 1919. Princess Astrid married the future Léopold III of Belgium in 1926, Princess Märtha Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1929 and Prince Carl Jr Countess Elsa von Rosen in 1937. All of them brought their children to Fridhem for family reunions in summer. Other relatives also came frequently – Prince Eugen, an uncle beloved by the entire family, had his own room on the first floor, and Princess Ingrid, who called herself Ingeborg’s “fourth girl”, was often there as well. After Queen Astrid’s tragic death in 1935 her mother or sisters used to go to Belgium to bring her children to Fridhem in the summers.
The family gatherings began again after the Second World War and in 1947 Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg celebrated their golden wedding at Fridhem. Prince Carl died four years later. His widow wanted their grandchildren to take over Fridhem so that they could use it as a place to meet, but this was not practically possible and in 1953 the County Council of Ostrogothia took over Fridhem and turned it into a convalescent home.
In 1987 it was bought by a private man who opened a conference hotel there three years later, with a new building with hotel rooms and a swimming pool added across the courtyard. Since 2006 there are new owners again and Fridhem has become popular also as a weekend hotel and a venue for weddings. Earlier this year the princesses’ playhouse (photos 7 and 8) was restored and reopened, complete with furniture and toys brought back from the City Museum in nearby Norrköping.
In the drawing room there is a huge painting of the three princesses Margaretha, Märtha and Astrid, which Princess Ingeborg decreed should always hang at Fridhem. There are also some other mementoes of Fridhem’s royal past. The last family member to visit was King Albert II of the Belgians, who, deeply moved, paid a private visit to his grandparents’ former home while on a state visit to Sweden in 1994.
Fridhem’s website can be found here:

Sunday, 26 July 2009

What to see: St Isaac’s Cathedral, St Petersburg

With its massive golden dome, St Isaac’s Cathedral is not only the largest church in St Petersburg, but also the fourth largest domed church in the world. The cathedral is 101.5 metres high and with its 4,000 square metres it can hold 14,000 people.
There had been three churches on the same spot before, each of them named for St Isaac the Dalmatian, a Byzantine monk whose feast day coincided with the birthday of Emperor Pyotr I. The third one had never really been finished, and it was Alexander I who gave the young and inexperienced French-born architect Auguste Ricard de Montferrand (1786-1858) the task of reconstructing it completely.
The work was carried out between 1817 and 1858. It took four decades and claimed the lives of approximately ¼ out of the 400,000 workers who were driven hard for 13 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Montferrand himself died a month after the conclusion of 41 years of work on the cathedral, but his request to be buried in it was refused by Emperor Alexander II because the architect was not Orthodox.
The four porticoes are made of a total of 112 monolithic columns of red Finnish granite. Each weighs 114 tons and is 17 metres high. Work on the interior began in 1841. The malachite columns flanking the iconostasis (seen in the third photo) are just a small part of the 16 tons of malachite used for the cathedral’s decoration, to which can be added 400 kilos of gold and 1,000 tons of bronze.
The decoration of the dome is done by Karl Bryullov in 1843-1845 and titled “The Mother of God in Glory”. The dove is made of silver and symbolises the Holy Spirit. The dome’s outer diameter is 25.8 metres. From the colonnade supporting it there is a splendid view over all of St Petersburg, as seen in the last photo. The dome itself is a prominent landmark that can be seen not only from the other side of the Neva, as in the eighth picture, but also from the outskirts of the city.
St Isaac’s Cathedral was consecrated on 30 May 1858 in the presence of Alexander II and remained the most senior church in Russia until the Revolution. Following the Revolution it was deconsecrated and turned into a museum of atheism. Even today it is still a museum rather than a church, although it is a bit unclear what it is a museum of. Yet there are sometimes religious services held in St Isaac’s, such as a solemn mass for the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna when her coffin in 2006, 78 years after her death in exile, was brought to St Petersburg for reburial in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.

Prince Henrik Carl Joachim Alain of Denmark christened

At 5.30 p.m. today the son of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark was christened in Møgeltønder Church in southern Denmark. The Prince was born on 4 May this year, but in keeping with Danish royal tradition it was only during the christening that his name was revealed - Henrik Carl Joachim Alain.
Henrik and Alain are the names of his grandfathers, Joachim that of his father, while Carl is a common royal name - the latest Prince Carl of Denmark was the second son of King Frederik VIII, who went on to become King Haakon VII of Norway. The choice of names breaks with the tradition that all Danish princes shall have either Christian or Frederik among their names, but of course the chance that Prince Henrik Jr will ever succeed to the throne is remote, not to say unlikely - he is currently seventh in line to the throne.
The godparents today were Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Benjamin Grandet and Charles Cavallier (brothers of Princess Marie), and Britt Davidsen Siesbye and Christian Scherfig (friends of Prince Joachim).
Among the 141 guests attending the ceremony were the Queen and Prince Consort of Denmark, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess with their two children, Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and his girlfriend Carina Axelsson, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg with her husband Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth and their children Richard and Ingrid, ex-Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes, Prince Nikolaós of Greece and his girlfriend Tatiana Blatnik, Count Ingolf of Rosenborg (born Prince of Denmark) and his wife Sussie, Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg (by birth Prince of Sweden) and his wife Gunnila, Countess Marina of Rosenborg and Désirée Iuel (née Princess of Schaumburg-Lippe) with her husband Michael.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

What to see: Elghammar Manor, Björnlunda

Elghammar Manor, near Björnlunda in Sudermania, is beautifully situated at the very end of a small peninsula, surrounded by the water of the lake Lockvattnet on three sides just a few metres away from the house. It has been called “a small piece of St Petersburg in Sudermania” and is often described as one of the most beautiful palaces in Sweden, although the late Duke would insist “it is no damned palace, it is a manor”.
One of the most important examples of the Empire style in Sweden, Elghammar was built for Field Marshal Count Curt von Stedingk, who served as Sweden’s ambassador in St Petersburg for two decades. There he came to know Giacomo Quarenghi (1744-1817), one of Ekaterina II’s favourite architects. Quarenghi rebuilt the Swedish Embassy in St Isaac’s Square (now apparently lost) and Stedingk thereafter asked him to build him a country seat at Elghammar, which Stedingk had bought unseen.
There was already a small manor house at Elghammar, which Quarenghi incorporated into the new building as the right of two projecting wings. Quarenghi’s design, executed about 1809-1810, shows a building with only one storey, but the middle section also has a mezzanine. Above it is a tympanum, supported by six free-standing Ionic columns, and in the Palladian manner there are sculptures on the roof.
However, the war between Sweden and Russia meant that it was not until 1814-1820 that Elghammar was actually built. Quarenghi himself never set his feet in Sweden and it was the Swedish architect Fredrik Blom (1781-1853), who had travelled with Stedingk to Russia as his ADC in 1809, who came to be in charge of the work. Blom also made certain changes to Quarenghi’s design, such as simplifying the temple front by dropping the sculptures on the roof and making the six Ionic columns engaged rather than free-standing.
The garden façade, seen in the eighth photo, is also considered to be Blom’s work and is, in its simplicity, rather typical of his architecture. Indoors the Great Hall (photo 4), divided into three sections by the use of four Ionic columns, is said to be the only interior by Quarenghi himself, while the library (fifth picture) is considered a Blom work by the current chatelaine – the library was originally in another room, but the fittings were later moved to this corner room. There are also other rooms in the Empire style, such as the drawing-room seen in the sixth photo, while the dining room (in the seventh photo) has been changed at a later date.
Following Curt von Stedingk’s death at 90 in 1837, Elghammar passed to his son, who left it to his daughter. The daughter had married the Duke d’Otrante, a grandson of the feared police minister and spymaster of Napoleonic France, Joseph Fouché, whose sons after his death had been allowed by King Carl XIV Johan to settle in Sweden. Since then Elghammar has been the seat of the Dukes d’Otrante – the only non-royal dukes in Sweden, although the title is French. A separate room at Elghammar is dedicated to Fouché and includes mementos such as his bed and his imperial uniform with the Legion of Honour sewn onto it.
Today Elghammar is the home of Duchess Christina d’Otrante, the widow of the previous Duke, Gustaf. When he died in 1995, he was succeeded by his only son, Charles, then only nine years old, who will eventually take over the manor. As a private home, Elghammar is not open to the public, but there are sometimes concerts in the Great Hall and at this link one can see a clip from French television of the Duchess guiding the viewers through her home:

At road’s end: Harry Patch (1898-2009), last WWI veteran in Britain

Within a week both the last surviving WWI veterans in Britain have died. Henry Allingham passed away at 113 last Saturday, while Harry Patch died in his sleep at 9 a.m. today in Fletcher House nursing home in Wells, Somerset, aged 111.
Henry “Harry” Patch was born on 17 June 1898 and joined the British Army in 1916. He fought in the trenches from June to September 1917, when he returned to Britain after having been wounded. He was the last soldier to have fought in the trenches of the Great War, to have been wounded in action and to have taken part in the Battle of Passchendale (Ypres). He outlived two wives, a third partner and both his children.
At the 90th anniversary of the ceasefire last November, three surviving veterans took part in the ceremony at the Cenotaph. Now they are all gone, with Bill Stone the first to die, in January this year.
Since Allingham’s death a week ago, Patch was the last WWI veteran in Britain. There is however a British veteran living in Australia, as well as a Canadian veteran living in the USA and an American veteran living in the USA. The last Australian veteran died in June, while the last French, Italian, German, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish, Polish and Ukrainian veterans died last year.
Approximately 65 million soldiers fought in WWI, with nearly 10 million being killed in this rather unnecessary war. In reaction to the death of Harry Patch today, the British Queen, Elizabeth II, said: “We will never forget the bravery and enormous sacrifice of his generation, which will continue to serve as an example to us all”.
“I know that the whole nation will unite today to honour the memory, and to take pride in the generation that fought the Great War. The noblest of all the generations has left us, but they will never be forgotten”, said Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
“War is organised murder and nothing else”, Harry Patch himself would say. In his memoir The Last Fighting Tommy, published when he was 109, Patch wrote “that politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder”.

The Guardian’s obituary:

Artistic Bernadottes this summer

As earlier mentioned Michael Bernadotte, son of the renowned designer Sigvard Bernadotte (by birth Prince of Sweden), is exhibiting some of his watercolours at Bosjökloster Palace in Höör this summer. In the latest issue of Queen (no 5-2009) the Count describes them as “only some travel sketches” and says his watercolours have until now been mostly used for Christmas cards, but that a friend insisted he should exhibit them. He also explains that when he trained as an architect one had to master drawing and that he took a course in Italy to be able to apply. Asked if his father has been an inspiration, he answers only “perhaps subconsciously”.
Another relative obviously acknowledges a deeper debt to Sigvard Bernadotte, namely Princess Christina’s son Oscar Magnuson. Educated as an industrial designer in Milan and Stockholm, he released his first collection of glasses last year, in August comes his first set of furniture and shortly thereafter jewellery designed by Magnuson will go on sale. To Queen he says that it was when working as an exhibition technician on his great-uncle Sigvard Bernadotte’s grand exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts in 1997 that he started to take a serious interest in design.
Prince Carl Philip too has made his debut as a designer this year and at Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde in Stockholm one may this summer see some of his botanical photos on display together with a selection of about 100 photos taken by his great-great-great-uncle Prince Eugen a century ago. The exhibition is called “Two Princes Behind the Camera” and lasts until 13 September.

Iceland applies for the EU

At a ceremony in Stockholm on Thursday the Foreign Minister of Iceland, Össur Skarphedinsson, formally presented his country’s application for the European Union to the Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt (Sweden presides over the EU these six months).
It was after a lengthy debate that the Icelandic Parliament a week earlier voted by 33 against 28 to apply for membership of the EU. The negotiations are likely to take several years and will then be followed by a referendum.
It will be interesting to see how the Icelandic application will influence the EU question here in Norway. If Iceland joins the European Union, Norway will be left alone with Liechtenstein in the EEA, but opinion polls show a significant majority of the Norwegian opposed to EU membership and the question is also likely to tear apart almost any possible coalition government.
The photo shows Icelandic flags being flown together with the Swedish and EU flags outside the Swedish Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

At road’s end: Henry Allingham (1896-2009), WWI veteran and world’s oldest man

Henry Allingham, one of the very few surviving WWI veterans and the oldest man in the world, died peacefully in his sleep at the nursing home St Dunstan’s in Ovingdean near Brighton at 3.10 a.m. yesterday. He was 113 years and 42 days old.
Born on 6 June 1896, he was 18 at the outbreak of World War I. In 1916 he took part in the Battle of Jutland, whose last survivor he was, and later transferred to the RAF when it was founded. He was also the last living founding member of the RAF.
As the number of WWI veterans dwindled and Allingham lived on, he became an increasingly popular person to interview for commemorative events and thereby shot to fame after he had turned 105. Crediting his great age to “cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women - and a sense of humour”, he enjoyed good health well into his ripe old age. At the 90th anniversary of the end of WWI in November last year he had intended to stand as he laid his wreath at the Cenotaph, but in the end could not find his feet.
Turning 113 in June he said he was glad to be a teenager again. That same month he also became the oldest man in the world. Queen Elizabeth II led the tributes yesterday, saying Allingham belonged to a generation who “sacrificed so much for us all”.
Allingham was a widower since 1970 and although they lived to their 80s, both his children predeceased him. He leaves five grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, fourteen great-great-grandchildren and one great-great-great-grandchild.
The passing of Henry Allingham leaves Harry Patch, who is 111, as the last surviving WWI veteran in Britain.

Obituary in the Guardian:

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The new National Museum in Oslo

It was decided a while ago, to rather loud protests from certain quarters, that a new building for the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design will be built at the old Western Railway Station in Oslo, virtually next-door to the City Hall. The new museum should be ready in 2016 and is scheduled to cost 3.5 billion NOK.
236 projects were submitted in the architectural contest and until Sunday they are all exhibited at Cort Adelers gate 30 in Oslo. By 3 September the jury will pick 4-6 projects which will go on to the second round and the winner will be announced in March next year.
The 236 projects are rich in diversity – some more original than others to put it mildly. While some are rather dull and easy to overlook, others are startling and yet others very avant-garde. Some will stand out just by their size, while others conform better to the city’s existing skyline. The old station is a listed building which now houses the Nobel Peace Centre and some architects have chosen to integrate it into the new building, while others intend to build something separate from it.
Some examples can be seen above. The titles of these projects are, from top to bottom: 1. White box redux, 2. Monolith in the ultimate north, 3. Sy 4068, 4. O, 5. Art Court, 6. Pharos, 7. Norwegian woods, 8. Sommerfugl, 9. Peak, 10. Man subsume event, 11. Nordlicht, 12. The Crown.
See also (in English)