Architect Sverre Fehn
Architect Sverre Fehn
intuition - reflection - construction
Sverre Fehn (1924-2009) was Norway’s most prominent architect. He has received numerous awards and prizes for his work throughout the years. In 1997 he was awarded The Pritzker Architecture Prize, ”the Nobel-Prize of Architecture” - the finest recognition you can receive as an architect, as well the Heinrich Tessenow Medal.
The crowning achievements of Sverre Fehn's career are two magnificent constructions in Oslo: The Gyldendal House, which opened in December 2007 and The National Museum – Architecture, inaugurated in March 2008.
Portrait of Sverre Fehn. Photo: Stina Glømmi
50 years ago, as a young architect, Sverre Fehn received international acclaim for Norway’s Pavilion at the Brussels World Fair (Expo-58). Since then he has designed about 100 projects. Among his foremost works are three exhibition pavilions: The Norwegian pavilion for the World Exhibition in Brussels, the Nordic pavilion at the Biennale in Venice and the pavilion for temporary exhibitions at The National Museum – Architecture at Bankplassen in Oslo. When visiting the latter newly finished he said: ”This must be one of the most beautiful things I have designed”. The pavilion is a development of the pavilions in Brussels and Venice.
During the last decade Sverre Fehn has made unique inprints in the Norwegian landscape with several buildings for museums such as the Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland (1991). The Aukrust Centre in Alvdal (1996) and the museum Ivar Aasen-tunet in Ørsta from 2000
The Norwegian pavilion in Brussels 1958. Photo: Haine
But Sverre Fehn’s concepts of architecture for museums and exhibitions was founded already twenty years earlier during the work of Hedmarksmuseet in Hamar
Single family housing is another field where Fehn has made prominent and distinctive contributions. One of his finest villa projects, that you also find in the exhibition, is in Sweden. Villa Norrköping was constructed 1963-64, the program asked for a vision for a modern house for a family in Scandinavia.
The poetic architecture of Fehn is characterized by a strong commitment, a subtle feeling of materials and detailing and a conclusive use and development of architectural motifs. Sverre Fehns attitude towards both renovations and extensions of older buildings as well as his staging of exhibitions with ancient objects, can be summed up in his most known quote: ”If you run after history you will never reach it – only through manifesting the present can you make history talk.”
Fehn has also made an important contribution as professor at the School of Architecture in Oslo and his teachings has influenced younger generations of Norwegian architects.
Villa Busk, Bamble, 1990. Photo: Unknown
Fehns poetic architecture is presented to the Swedish audience in a large exhibition for the first time. The exhibition is produced by Nasjonalmuseet – Arkitektur in Oslo which opened their new building (by Fehn) officially last year with this exhibition. Hopefully the visitor will get a rich experience and insight in the production of a great architect. The exhibition is a hommage to Sverre Fehn and he has himself been taking part in the selection of the projects that are shown. Drawings, texts, photographs, models, 3D-visualizations and films show thirty-two of his projects. Two thirds of them have been constructed while the rest have stayed unrealized.