Two souls with a burning passion for architecture

Meet two souls that burn with a passion for architecture: Karl-Gunnar Olsson and Morten Lund, both professors at Chalmers University. It is these two gentlemen who have produced this year’s programme for the Nordic Architecture Fair and so far, they are very pleased with what will be offered to visitors at the Swedish Exhibition and Conference Centre on 15-18 October.

We meet Karl-Gunnar Olsson and Morten Lund in the lavishly beautiful Chalmerska Huset at Södra Hamngatan 11 in Gothenburg. Although it is late afternoon their enthusiasm is at its peak and the two professors adroitly join in the conversation. They have known each other for a long time and have a lot in common. One lives in Lund, while the other, with his roots in Copenhagen, has Lund as a surname.

Morten Lund, Artistic Professor at Chalmers University, with a particular interest in experimental architecture, is the most animated of the two. He gesticulates and smiles most of the time, personifying what we usually call “Danish good nature”.

– We especially want to attract the smaller architectural practices to the fair in October, preferably with young architects at the forefront. That’s why it was important that it should not be too expensive to exhibit.

Karl-Gunnar Olsson, who is responsible for the dual programme in Architecture and Civil Engineering, where Morten Lund is also active, adds:

– We meet young students every day and know what enormous capacity and competence they possess. But we have to give them the chance to be seen as well, building their self-confidence for when they present themselves to the market.

In order to meet the young architects’ need to be seen, an exhibition will also be organised during this year’s Nordic Architecture Fair, Young Architecture, where some 30 degree-projects from both Nordic and Baltic architectural schools will be exhibited.

– In Sweden, we are weak at showing the work of young architects. In London, and to some extent also in Copenhagen, such degree exhibitions are major popular events, Morten Lund notes.

Both professors become really enthusiastic as they start talking about the four architecture tracks they have put together for the Nordic Architecture Fair.

– There will be four conversations about issues that are very timely: beauty, mobility in the city, container houses and tomorrow’s architects. We have put together a sophisticated programme with both experienced and young speakers. That should appeal to both professional architects and an interested public, says Karl-Gunnar Olsson.

Morten Lund adds:

– We must not be afraid to discuss issues of public concern. When the Builders’ Association asks me why we draw such ugly buildings nowadays, we must dare to raise that question at a professional level. That is why we invited the exciting architect Yael Reisner from London to lead the conversation around “the power of beauty”.

Another important goal that the Chalmers University professors have set for this year’s Nordic Architecture Fair is to create clear values for the visitors, or to put it more bluntly: to create the conditions for business.

– We regard the book and library fair as a good example. As well as attracting the public in huge numbers, there are also a lot of deals being done at that fair,  for example between writers and publishers. We want our “writers” – the architects and the engineers – to find the “publishers”, i.e. the municipalities, the builders and other commissioners. That is why it is so good that the Nordic Architecture Fair runs in parallel with the Nordic Property Expo this year, says Karl-Gunnar Olsson in summary.

When asked what they are looking forward to most during this year’s Nordic Architecture Fair, they are in agreement: the visit of Manon Mollard, the new editor of the prestigious magazine Architectural Review in London.

– Manon Mollard is world-renowned in the industry and the social passion that both she and her magazine stand for fits the profile we have chosen for this year’s Nordic Architecture Fair like a glove. She will talk about the future of architecture, when young people, especially female architects, will create sustainable and socially inclusive environments. No-one interested in architecture should miss it, concludes Morten Lund with a warm smile.