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Y-block in infinity light

ARCHITECTURE: The state ministry building, the Y-block, has a reputation for being the ugliest building in Oslo. It has been hated for its brutalist aesthetics. But how much do we, or the state itself, really know about the construction and thinking behind the Y-block?

The line from the father of functionalism, the Swiss architect Le Corbusier, to Norwegian Erling Viksjø, is well known.

Le Corbusier visited Oslo in 1933 and according to Espen Johnsen (UiO) had great influence on Norwegian modernism, including architect Ove Bang, and his assistant was Viksjø. In 1940, both Viksjø's and Bang's draft were highlighted in the architectural competition for the new government quarter. In 1945 Viksjø took over this work, and several of Viksjø's ideas with the government quarter appear in an interesting dialogue with Corbusier's visionary ideas.

Still, the Y-block is not a Corbusier copy, and therefore arouses interest in the European cultural organization Europa Nostra and the world's most prestigious architecture museum Museum of Modern Art. It is in the Y-block concept that we find what is different from French modernist functionalism.

Vitruvius and Pantheon

Viksjö architecture mentioned. . .

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Marianne Solberg
Solberg is a new critic in Ny Tid.
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