Session 10

Espen Johnsen / Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo
Christina Pech / Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design, Stockholm
Talette Simonsen / The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo


Networks and Collaborations in Nordic Architectural Culture


Nordic twentieth century architecture is often considered a relatively isolated phenomenon, generally evoking matters of identity and regional character, and all too frequently framed within a national narrative. In contrast, this session aims to critically examine how architects from the Nordic countries formed part of international networks and collaborations with architects outside of their own country and how these contacts influenced their way of practising and/or theorizing modern architecture. The established and the less formalized or the less visible networks and relationships are equally relevant in this context (Bruno Latour, Charles Kadushin, 2012).

Papers may address networks of individuals as well as groups, at different levels of organization. Examples of sorts could be personal relationships established through employments, internships, visits or study trips abroad. While focusing on architects, proposals could also address contacts between architects and other researchers, art historians, artists, photographers etc. (Mark Wigley, 2001). Already well-studied organizations and groups such as the CIAM and the Team 10 form particular cases in point, representing both an official international organization and contacts in a more personal, yet formalized setting. Investigations of Nordic factions of these networks are particularly encouraged, as the dissemination of their influence in the Nordic countries is in need of further study.

The session invites papers that contribute to the understanding of how networks triggered and activated particular discourses that became crucial at certain times. We call for contributions that explore how collaborations shaped the involved architects’ understanding, practice and methods of modern architecture through built projects, competition proposals, exhibitions, writing as well as other related mediations of architecture. While the focus is on the time period 1945-75 studies of networks prior to or later to that are also welcome.

Among others, topics could include:

  • Case studies of specific architects and the influence of their professional and personal networks.
  • The dissemination in the Nordic countries of the ideas and architectural culture of international organizations (such as CIAM) and groups (Team 10).
  • Historiographical accounts of Nordic architects’ collaborations within and outside of the Nordic countries.
  • Influences of international collaborations in the construction of the Nordic welfare states.
  • Case studies of traveling exhibitions, i.e. group, individual or thematic displays of international architecture traveling the Nordic countries.