New Nordic Architecture

Snøhetta. The opreahouse in Oslo, Norway, 2008 Photo: Christopher Hagelund/

With all this talk about new Nordic as it relates to cuisine, a lot of people are wondering what exactly Nordic is and what is so “new” about it? Denmark’s top modern art museum, Louisiana, currently has an exhibition to help answer these very questions and more specifically, to examine the relationship between architecture to culture and identity. The exhibition entitled, “New Nordic — Architecture & Identity,” is the first in an upcoming series that aims to explore the relationship between architecture, culture and identity. It further aims to explore and define the developing concept of “new” Nordic as a reincarnation or “rediscovery” of deep traditions, and how it manifests in its own societies and as part of today’s modern, global world. Three themes were chosen to illustrate these concepts and look at architecture in the context of environment, community and public spaces. In addition, part of this first exhibition will be included in the upcoming Venice Bienale August 2012 International Architecture Exhibition.

Here’s a short clip about the exhibition:

How the rest of the world perceives the Nordic region and understands its culture has been limited. This is perhaps due to its size, its geographic location, its homogeneous nature, or even its potential fear of a dilluted identity due to globalization. The topic is fascinating in light of the heightened interest in Scandinavian lifestyle including everything from Denmark’s Restaurant Noma (world’s no. 1 restaurant) setting a trend in Nordic cuisine, to film makers, TV programs, and suspense novels not to mention fashion, design and environmental technology and practices. The Wall Street Journal has even covered this theme quite extensively in its recent article, “Modern Norsemen.”

How better to learn about the “new” Nordic movement than by seeing how this manifests in the buildings they live, work, learn and play in. One thing’s for sure, the Nordics are starting to show their true colors to the rest of the world — as a region, and as individual nations with unique cultural attributes and identities — and they are becoming more and more recognizable around the world.

Here are a few examples of new Nordic architecture highlighted in the exhibition:

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter; Karlsson House, Sweden, 2000-2002. Photo: Åke E:son Lindman

New Nordic – Architecture & Identity Installationsfoto Lassila Hirvilammi Architects. Louisiana Pavilion.

Jensen & Skodvin Architects (NO) Juvet Landscape Hotel, Gudbrandsjuvet, Norway, 2007 Photo: Jensen & Skodvin Architects

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects (FI) Joensuun Lyseon Peruskoulu/ Joensuu Primary School,  Finland, 2006. Photo: Jussi Tiainen

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