Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Olof Thedin on the Architecture of Necessity

Olof Thedin (Arkitektbolaget) is based in Växjö, Sweden and was involved in the design of Limnologen, a building that has won praise from the National Swedish Wood Construction Strategy and the Swedish Wood Construction Council.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fredrik von Platen on the Architecture of Necessity

Fredrik von Platen is a former Director General for Boverket, the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning. He is also on the steering committee for WOOD 2010. Virserum Art Museum caught up with him to ask him a few questions and to get his reflections on the Architecture of Necessity.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Appeal for an Architecture of Necessity

Architecture responds to the most basic needs of human beings. It provides both protection from the elements of nature as well as spaces for passion and play. Architecture marks the threshold between nature and culture - it is humankind's foothold in the world. Architecture is the story of human lives and the development of society, of economic, social and cultural relationships.

In the media-controlled globalised society, architecture is increasingly becoming an implement for competition and the desirability of locations. Architecture becomes icons whose aim is to cause sensation. Poor city planning and property speculation result in social divisions, long journeys and waste of resources. Human construction and habitation are key causes of environmental decay and climate change. The problems are global, as is the financial crisis that has plunged the world into recession.

Architecture is today facing challenges of a magnitude that modernism faced at the beginning of the twentieth century. The thinking human being sees the necessity in taking these challenges seriously. Globalisation offers new solutions, just as the Architecture of Necessity creates new possibilities.

The Architecture of Necessity is:

Architecture of Necessity requires insight and professional knowledge. It reflects human needs, both immediate and distant. It considers all the dimensions and consequences of architecture, even those that are not always apparent. The future of architecture lie in its constraints.

Architecture of Necessity is properly planned, considerately executed and meticulously evaluated. The planning pays attention to experience, it answers human needs, it embeds the building into its environment and the function into the building. Attention to detail and choice of material provides a proximity for users and allows for the inclusion of those involved. The evaluation generates knowledge of the continued life of the building and of future projects. Reflection ensures a long-term economy.

Architecture of Necessity avoids short-term solutions. Its premise is recycling, it strives to reduce transport and takes advantage of renewable resources. The Architecture of Necessity is long term and renewable. Materials are best recycled where they already exist in a building. Architecture must economise with resources and energy and show consideration for people.

Architecture of Necessity counteracts social and global divisions. It prevents segregation and slums by stimulating participation and development in suburbs and favelas. It defends architecture as the right of everybody and the architectural experience as a free utility. Society shall provide the space for both the everyday and the extraordinary experiences of human life for everybody.

Architecture of Necessity invites change and dialogue. It is open to rich and complex cultural traditions and narratives and is the physical embodiment of the democratic society. A building or a city is not something to be completed, it is something to be developed. The architecture that is open to change and participation will be loved and it will have a long life.

Please spread this call!

download as pdf


Since 2004 Virserum Art Museum has been arranging major exhibitions on wood and wood architecture. During the course of preparing for the next big exhibition to take place in the summer of 2010, the notion of sustainability has been an ever-present topic. The term has been so commonly used that it is in danger of losing any real meaning. We want to push the discussion about architecture, urban and social planning beyond the immediate. We need your help to do this.

Help us to disseminate the debate
In conjunction with the announcement of this call, we're launching this blog, please use it - debate, discuss and pass on the call!

Virserum Art Museum wants to showcase the Architecture of Necessity
We want to show the Architecture of Necessity. Send us information! We want text, drawings and pictures of exciting projects that fall within the remit of the call. It can be buildings, larger projects or city plans. The projects should be current or implemented within the last five years. But we are also interested in plans, ideas and visions. Submitted examples do not have to involve the use of wood, despite wood being the obvious choice of material for a country like Sweden. Participation is free!

Honourable Mention
The exhibition will take place in Virserum between May 9 and September 19, 2010, after which it will go on a tour in Sweden, Scandinavia and the rest of the world. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, written in both Swedish and English. An international jury of architects will award honourable mentions to three outstanding contributions, to be announced in August 2010. The exhibition will be housed on the first floor of Virserum Art Museum's Paperhouse, which is Sweden's biggest continuous art exhibition space.

Virserum Art Museum
Virserum Art Museum was established in 1998 in Virserum in Småland, Southern Sweden. The community has a population of about 2,000 and is a former hub of the Swedish furniture industry. The art museum is run by a non-profit organisation with the aim of providing a public space for the narratives and experiences of ordinary people. Since 2004, Virserum Art Museum has hosted major themed exhibitions every third year on everything related to wood, with a focus on wood construction and architecture. The art museum views itself as an ecomuseum which means we are dedicated to contributing to the development of the community, not just socially, culturally and democratically, but also economically. Virserum is located in typical Swedish woodland areas and the purpose of the exhibitions has been to promote the refining of the resources of the forests, so as to create more jobs and to ensure that the renewable and CO2-binding material can contribute to an environmentally friendly development.

Virserum, September 2009
Henrik Teleman
Director, Virserum Art Museum

EMAIL the architecture of necessity to: arc@virserumskonsthall.com