Reiulf Ramstad Architects / NOR
Light House
Reiulf Ramstad: In 1962, the same year that I was born in Oslo, Norway, the Nordic Pavilion was designed by Sverre Fehn and built in Venice. In 1991, Fehn exhibited in his own Pavilion and I was with him making the exhibition while I finished my architectural studies at the University of Venice.
In Fehn’s office in Oslo, we had a dialogue on the exhibition project. The entire conversation was very direct: about materials, stories about the construction of the Pavilion’s super slim concrete beams, about the trees that were there before the construction, about the room and the space, and about the light. The piece of architecture exhibited was made out of rectangular glass planes in the horizontal position, carried by split steel pipes. The exhibition was in many ways a glance backwards at Fehn’s main works.
In 2001, I received the opportunity to return and work in the Nordic Pavilion in Venice. Together with my colleagues I exhibited a piece of work consisting of an imaginary architectural landscape, made out of an elaborate cardboard model. It was an attempt at a glance forward.
Sverre Fehn died in Oslo in 2009 and left a unique architectural heritage.
In 2012, I’m together with my colleagues, back as an exhibitor in the Pavilion. Sverre Fehn’s Pavilion in Venice can, if possible, be labelled as the “cathedral of modernism,” due to its vibrant and timeless relationship between space and construction, between shadow and light, between the horizontal and the vertical, between the man-made and the natural.
These are all themes that are recurring and filtering through all the work in our studio, and constitute the bedrock of our investigations. The natural and the man-made are not in contrast to each other, but are seen more as continuations, where all ends up in the same character. The cultivated are to be geometric variations in a given topology.

Photo: Ilari Järvinen
More information about the exhibition and the other models