Platform: a spotlight on modernist residential architecture in Norway
Modernist architecture emerged in the early 20th century in response to large-scale changes in technology, construction, and society; mainly due to the use of glass, steel and reinforced concrete. The style was typically associated with the function of buildings from an analytical point of view, rational use of materials, the elimination of ornamentation and openness to structural innovation.
Paul Tunge is a Norwegian writer, director and cinematographer from Arthouse Films who has been involved in film production since the early 2000s. Having written, directed, shot and produced four independent films, in addition to three documentaries, each of his projects has been screened at major film festivals across all continents, in galleries and in several national cinemas and cinema libraries.
Tunge had made two short documentaries on modernist architecture, AD Astra, with a focus on churches, and Bauta, with a focus on brutalist corporate buildings, both of which premiered on the online cultural site Nowness. After focusing on modernist architecture through the lens of these two projects, Tunge continued with Plattform, a meditative short film that explores modernist architecture within housing in Norway from the late 1950s to the early 1990s.
Le Corbusier’s influence in architecture through mass production and digital fabrication
With projects by Sverre Fehn, Geir Grung and Erling Viksjø, among others, the film aims to build a way to make private architecture public, experience a building and feel the space, light, material and placement of the corresponding spaces . .
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the residences featured in the short film and how each of these architects contributed to the wave of significance for the residential modernist architecture era.
Erling Viksjø of Villa Ystgaard (b. 1957) has made a very remarkable contribution to the design of monumental buildings in Norway. In search of modern forms of expression, Viksjø sought to create a unique form of interaction between architecture and art, and in many of his buildings he succeeded in establishing an intimate connection between the two art forms, resulting in a cohesive architectural sculpture.
Villa Furulund (1998), designed by Lundhagem, is built on a site with moderately dense vegetation. The desire to keep all the trees central to the placement of the two L-shaped houses, separated by a long, thick wall arranged to form a sheltered atrium. The design language of the building contrasts with the surrounding houses and it is the dialogue of the house with the existing trees that binds it to the place.
Villa Bjart Mohr (1971) was designed in the early 1970s by Bjart Mohr as a permanent home for himself and his family. The project is well thought out and detailed and the result is a succession of comfortable and well-lit spaces. The division of the different rooms in the house by means of sliding doors offers the possibility to close off separate rooms, but also to create an open complex succession of rooms. The garden then also stands as a point of interest, drawing on Japanese inspiration, seeking contemplation and tranquility with its trellis and paved path, a stark contrast to bright open lawns.
Built for a musician in 1990, Sverre Fehn’s Villa Busk resembles a romantic fortress, standing on the edge of a sheer cliff; it has the appearance of a house made to house a poetic sensibility. Akin to many of his projects, the house has a strong relationship with its surroundings, seamlessly blending modernity with regionalism. These qualities bring a sense of timelessness into the home.
Jensen & Skodvin’s Villa Wormdal Haug (1991) occupies a site between the outer and central parts of the city. The area possessed rare qualities for a city lot: large deciduous trees, ash, maple, and oak, combined with a local topography that provided pastoral views in three directions. The design of the house is an attempt to emphasize the segregated character of the place, turning its back on the urban, while giving the rooms a selective and exclusive view of the trees and what for a city is an unexpected, almost pastoral landscape . .
Villa Ullern (1993) in Lundhagem occupies a site originally used as a communal sunbathing area for the local community, alongside the remains of several fine features, including a 30-metre staircase leading to the top of the hill, a retaining wall, a pond and two beautiful poplars. The house embodies a sense of lightness that is both playful and poetic, and the use of color and texture in the interior is consistently coordinated with the exterior of the house, almost erasing the transition from indoors to outdoors. Infused with a sense of lightness and the fading from the outside to the inside means that nature is brought into all areas of the house.
Paul Tunge believes that film, society and the media are connected to information and learning, but an effort should be made to protect and illuminate key pieces, giving architecture a sense of presence and experience that simply cannot be found in his theory.