The Norwegian Glasshouse
27 January 2017–13 August 2017
The National Museum – Architecture, The Vault
In parallel with the presentation in the Fehn Pavilion of Lina Bo Bardi's glasshouse Casa de Vidro in São Paulo, in the museum's Vault we take a closer look at glasshouses in Norway. This exhibition focuses on how Norwegian architects explored the theme of the glasshouse in the years before and after World War II. Here you can see house projects by Arne Korsmo, Ove Bang, Sverre Fehn, Håkon Mjelva, Geir Grung, and Wenche and Jens Selmer. On show are hitherto little-known drawings of projects that are now considered masterpieces of Norwegian modernist architecture.
Living close to nature
Throughout the 20th century, architects promoted the glasshouse as a symbol of mental liberation. Around the time of World War I, German expressionist architects wrote ardent manifestos about glass structures that would contribute to the moral health of future society. Later architects with links to the so-called international style insisted that homes with glass walls enhanced the occupants' experience of the natural environment and their awareness of the need to contemplate nature.
The photographs in the exhibition capture the spatial experience of the glasshouse, as does also PAM Mellbye's 1964 description of Geir Grung's house at Jongskollen in Bonytt:
“The boundary between inside and out, between cold and warmth, between technology and nature, has vanished … Liberated of something, but somewhat febrile, one continues floating in the glass room beneath the night sky, overcome by drama and a bold yearning to confront a howling storm that one could laugh at.”