A Postcard from Oslo: Triennale Year

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Across Europe 2016 is a year full of major events exploring architecture – Scotland’s own Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and Festival of Architecture, the Venice Architecture Biennale and the Lisbon and Oslo Triennale.

On a recent visit to Oslo A&DS met up with Hanna Dencik Petersson, Director of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT). We met at DOGA – The Norwegian center for Design and Architecture – which is currently featuring a fascinating exploration of the diminishing space available for children in our cities. DOGA is one of the key venues for the Triennale and is also where the secretariat for the Oslo Architecture Triennale is based.

The theme of this year’s triennale is After Belonging: A Triennale in Residence, On Residence and the Way We Stay in Transit – a theme chosen by the curators After Belonging Agency who were selected by an international jury in 2014.

Hanna explains that the theme, After Belonging “Looks at how increasing mobility and global circulation of people and goods affects our sense of belonging. How do we shape our environments, homes and cities based on our new state of belonging? After Belonging will not just look at our physical spaces, but also our digital, legal and regulatory spaces.”

The breadth and impact of the Oslo Triennale has grown over the years and will this year run from 8 September until 27 November. Its core program consist of two main exhibitions, a conference and a publication. In addition to this, the triennale will present a large extended program with events and projects related to the triennale theme. It has a broad network of supporters – both from public and private funders, including the city of Oslo, the Department of Culture and a range of private developers.  The wide range of supporters has help shape the approach of the OAT – as the focus is very clearly on being accessible to a broad audience. The theme and approach of the OAT is to discuss architecture and planning in the broader sense.

“The theme of the triennale should have global interest, but must have local relevance,” Hanna said, “Form and design is important, but we wish to have a broad discussion on architecture to explore what impact our places and spaces have on us.”

Apart from the main conference access to all events and exhibitions at OAT is free and aimed at a broad range of audiences – from architects, planners, decision makers, academia, children and young people. The core audience is that of the citizens of Oslo. In 2013 over 60,000 visitors explored the Triennale – that year the theme was on sustainability. The organisers also evaluate impact based on the digital footprint and coverage in national and international media.

The full programme of the Oslo Architecture Triennale will be launched in Oslo on 24 May, and will be presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale and the London Festival of Architecture.


Hanna Dencik Petersson

Hanna Dencik Petersson, Director of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT).

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