Architect, critic and writer – Ingerid Helsing Almaas

“Architecture is a very concrete way of engaging with the world. Architects never work alone, and the results of our work affect everyone. This is a unique opportunity for dialogue, as well as a great creative responsibility.” – Ingerid Helsing Almaas

Ingerid Helsing Almaas is a Norwegian architect, critic and writer. She was Editor-in-chief of Arkitektur N, the Norwegian Review of Architecture, from 2004-2017. From the vantage point of Northern Europe, she has been an active commentator on the culture of architecture since the early 1990’s.

Her writings are rooted in the experience of a wide field of architectural practice, from furniture making and building conservation work to teaching and political engagement.

 

Ingerid has worked in most fields of architecture in one capacity or another. Since training as an architect in the UK, she taught in the Architectural Association diploma school in the late 1990’s together with Pascal Schöning, working with film and video in an attempt to bridge the gap between architecture and narrative. At the same time, she worked on listed building restoration in London’s East End. Moving back to Norway in 1999, Ingerid became an editor with Arkitektur N (then known as Byggekunst magazine), whilst also teaching at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design and as a consultant for the Norwegian Norwegian Defence Estates Agency. Taking over as Editor-in-chief in 2004, Ingerid expanded the scope of Arkitektur N, working to include all aspects of Norwegian architecture, from student work to building presentation to academic research, as well as opening the magazine to international readers and contributors.

Ingerid is currently a senior advisor with Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA), a government agency tasked with promoting change and innovation through architecture and design.

She is a widely consulted critic on national radio and in the mainstream media, she has taught at several prestigious institutions in Norway and abroad, and lectured widely on recent developments in Norwegian architecture as well as other topics. She has worked with exhibition research and design, communication and commentary in various corners of the architecture field, as a teacher, examiner and juror, but always with a firm connection to the everyday practice of architecture, and the task of the profession in constructing a better and more meaningful world.

In her contribution to the 2016 Deerubbin Conference, she looked at Norwegian architecture in a global perspective. “Everything is a story”, she says. “In a global world, the connections we make in the way we think about each other, the connections between people and between places, are vital. Norway is not just Norway. In the story of Norwegian architecture there is a myriad connection points to other places, and the people in those places.”

These connections are made manifest in events like the Røros Symposium, a biannual international celebration of architecture held in the UNESCO town of Røros, Norway, the direct inspiration for the Deerubbin conferences. Since 2006, Ingerid has been asked to do the summing up at these Symposia, tying together the disparate threads of architects all over the world in a common story, with themes as wildly disparate as “Words”, “Paradise”, “Resistance” or “Business plans”.

Ingerid is not just a critic but a storyteller. With her deep knowledge of Norway, its architecture and its place on the edge of the map, her Futuna Lectures will trace the thin lines across history, across the map and across architectural practice that might connect the culture of the North to other places and other people.

“For us, the people of the north, it is hard to not get the impression that our position in the world, on the edge, is less significant. But of course, this is not actually the case. As we know, the earth is a sphere, where each point is equidistant from the centre, and so the periphery doesn’t exist – it is a product of the snapshot you take of the globe. So if we take another snapshot, a different picture emerges of the relationship between things, and new things become possible.”  – Ingerid Helsing Almaas