Building ideas. From the Architecture Collection, 1830 to the present

The National Museum – Architecture
Permanent exhibition

How have architectural ideas evolved during the past two centuries? How have architects’ working methods and forms of expression shaped and changed our architectural culture and history?

With material by significant architects such as Henrik Bull, Sverre Fehn, Harald Hals, Jan & Jon, Arne Korsmo, Magnus Poulsson, Snøhetta, and Erling Viksjø, the exhibition focuses on ideas as the core of all architecture.

This exhibition presents a selection of architectural ideas drawn from the National Museum’s collection, which encompasses over 300,000 drawings and other objects dating from the 1830s to today. Some of the works on display are part of Norway’s built landscape, while others never left the drawing boards of the architects who produced them.

The drawings and models on show reveal changing tastes in architectural styles during the past two centuries. They also document changes in the aesthetics of drawings and models themselves. Variations in materials and techniques reflect technological developments across time, as well as shifting currents in architectural attitudes, thinking and approaches.

An ’idea bank’ from the 1900s lives on
One of the exhibition’s highlights is an ‘idea bank’ from the office of Bjercke og Eliassen (1914–1960). It contains over 1,600 postcards, prints and photographs from Norway, Scandinavia and Europe that were either collected by Bjercke og Eliassen or sent to them by friends and colleagues.

This ‘idea bank’ is displayed as part of an interactive installation in which the public’s pictures, shared via Instagram, are shown together with material contained in the architects’ original archive of inspiration. Photographs contributed by the public cast the historical material in a new light and expand Bjercke og Eliassen’s existing archive.

34 m² vision of Oslo
This autumn you have the unique opportunity to see architect and city planner Harald Hals’s newly restored plaster model of Oslo. First completed in 1930, the 34 square meter model was revised constantly until 1940. One part fact and one part fiction, it is a shifting collage that merges together fragments of an existing, historical city with suggestions for future streets, buildings and neighborhoods.