For the very first time, Norwegian architecture has its own export programme. The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs are the initiators of the historic commitment launched on Monday afternoon. The pilot programme is to last for one year from the fall of 2017.
“Norwegian architecture has unique qualities that are in demand in international specialist fields. The feedback we have received makes clear that Norwegian architects enjoy considerable respect in terms of sustainability – climate and the environment – as well as the social aspects of sustainability. Norwegian architects are also excellent designers, with a particular focus on landscape and nature. They are skilled when it comes to material usage and details and create open and inclusive architecture. Our cities are compact, green and offer people a positive living environment. This enables us to stand out in the world of architecture,” says Tor Inge Hjemdal, Director of Architecture at DOGA.
Mæland: “Significant export potential”
Even though the architecture industry is profitable and generates a considerable turnover by Norwegian standards – seven billion Norwegian crowns in 2014 - most of the work takes place in Norway. Even though there are a number of architectural firms, such as Snøhetta, that have won prestigious contracts and created signal buildings in other countries, the Prognosesenteret states that architectural exports comprise only 1 percent of the industry’s total turnover.
“Norwegian architecture originates from the Norwegian society model and creates inclusive and sustainable buildings and environments. We have seen that this has significant export potential in the restructuring of the cities of tomorrow around the world. There are few architectural firms that have ventured out into the world, but those who have have achieved good results. That is why we are pleased to help more architects establish an international reputation,” says the Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland.
Local knowledge crucial
Collaborative partners DOGA and Innovation Norway plan to work from now until summer on the further development of the export programme. Tor Inge Hjemdal suggests that a shortlist will be made of around 8 – 12 architectural firms with clear ambitions and qualifications in terms of export.
“Different countries and cities have different problems and needs. For this programme to succeed, we need to learn about the challenges, structures and competitive situation in these markets and combine this knowledge with the advantages offered by Norwegian architects,” says Hjemdal.
Minister of Cultural Affairs Linda Hofstad Helleland states that there is strong and growing interest in Nordic and Norwegian architecture.
“The industry has knowledge and competence that is in high demand worldwide. Various architects participate in the international arena through exhibitions, international distinctions and in discussions about and the development of the profession. But architecture shows significantly greater export potential than Norway has succeeded in achieving to date. That is why we have initiated this export programme,” she adds.
“Fine-tuned efforts a positive development”
Professor Anne-Britt Gran, head of the BI Centre for Creative Industries, believes there is significant export potential in Norwegian architecture.
“Norway is known for its high-quality and sustainable architecture and good architectural solutions, and this is something we can excel at. I think more finely tuned export programmes for the creative industries is a positive development. This makes it possible to target the right markets with the right talents, as well as achieve valuable network growth and competence sharing,” says Gran.
* Design and Architecture Norway, Director of Architecture Tor Inge Hjemdal, mobile +47 971 83 747
* Innovation Norway, Senior Advisor for the Creative Industries Margit Klingen Daams, mobile +47 909 37 763
This article was written by Pressenytt on behalf of Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA). Pressenytt has editorial responsibility for the contents of this article.