2012: Competition: TIME & SPACE – writing about architecture
In February, the Henning Larsen Foundation launched an
international competition for writing about architecture, "TIME
& SPACE". 173 entries from 18 countries were submitted. The
entries come from most countries in Europe, several countries in
the Middle East, the US and Canada.
The many Danish and English texts represent a broad variety of
genres - from short, poetic texts and essays to more academic
The competition is the third in a row of architecture competitions
held by the Henning Larsen Foundation. The first was about
"photographing architecture", the second about "drawing
architecture" and the third - "TIME & SPACE" - focuses on
"writing about architecture".
Photos, drawings and texts challenge architecture. They can be a
branch of art or a piece of architecture in themselves, or they can
communicate an idea or a dream. The dream has been the focus of
attention in this competition.
The jury has evaluated the submitted texts on the basis of their
description of space and spatiality and whether they offer
something new to the genre - writing about architecture.
On 20 August, the names of the winners are announced. The first
prize winner receives an award of €10,000, the second prize winner
of €5,000 and the three third prize winners of each €2,000.
Nathan Romero Muelas, Charlottenlund, for the text "The Wash
Daniel Persson, Malmö, for the text "Snow/Tracing Paper".
Sanne Flyvbjerg, Copenhagen, for the text "Patarei, Patarei,
Mette Marie Kallehauge, Copenhagen, for the text "The architecture
of text - the text of architecture".
Tinne Delfs, Åbyhøj, for the text "Time & Space".
The jury consisted of Professor, architect Henning Larsen; CEO,
architect Kent Martinussen; Chief Editor, architect Martin Keiding;
architecture writer, historian of ideas Christian Bundegaard and
architect Troels Troelsen.
About the winners, the jury writes:
"The Wash House" by Nathan Romero Muelas
"The Wash House" is a classic essay. A personal, experienced voice
takes us back to a place that no longer exists but as a
recollection still gives meaning. A place "from the time before the
washing machine" which in the writer's description becomes the
space of architecture par excellence, the place where people meet
around an everyday function that would not exist without the
physical framework provided by architecture. A simple space and a
simple but captivating story about how time lets the space continue
beyond its concrete existence by virtue of our memory. A place you
passed but which stayed in your mind because the architecture and
the everyday use were strong and full of meaning. As this essay
itself: a small gem that unites everything important with simple
"Snow/Tracing Paper" by Daniel Persson
"Snow/Tracing Paper" uses a well-known analogy, the fresh snow
seen as the writer's, the artist's white paper, but does it in an
at the same time poetic, distinct and humorous way - observing how
traces are created and mixed. Snow as sketching in text and fine
images, diagrams of possible projects and at the same time drawings
for what just disappears. A transitory architecture that reveals
quite a lot about norms and individuality, about how our many other
traces in life come into existence, are read and are gone again.
Just as ourselves. Because we ourselves are small traces of passed
time in spaces, which are here until "spring comes… and other birds
sing different songs".
"Patarei, Patarei, Patarei" by Sanne Flyvbjerg
"Patarei" is an architectural report from a desolate prison
outside Tallinn in Estonia. Attracted by the abandoned "places of
the past", the writer shares what she calls "an altogether
extraordinary space" with the reader. Sensuously, attentively and
no little ghastly, the travel back in time is communicated through
empty and deserted spaces, which are nonetheless filled with traces
of the limited life, which probably never unfolded but simply lived
here. And architecture, which comprises the past in its entire
contrasting mixture of fascination and fear, inspires the writer -
and us readers - to create architecture "that exists for the body
and is not just beautiful in the visionary aesthetics".
"The architecture of text - the text of architecture" by Mette
"The architecture of text - the text of architecture" brings
together the act of writing with the act of drawing houses and
looks into what the two can learn from each other. And it shows
that "the human body is an archive" that survives through its
memory, just as good architecture is dependent on the body's memory
being able to find its way around it and feel at home in it. As the
text passes in time when you write and read it, in the same way
architecture must also find its spaces in humans' mental
landscapes, and as the writer's philosophical and inventive
analysis suggests, there is much to be dealt with. The dream house
- which is both a concrete place and - precisely - a dream, is
something that develops over time. In numerous kinds of crossings
between then and now, here and there.
"Time & Space" by Tinne Delfs
"Time & Space" uses a painting by Vermeer to consider the
relationship between the outer and the inner space, between the
virtual and the concrete, physical world. Just as Vermeer's closet
play shows us that the large dramas are concealed in everyday life,
our imaginations about physical settings are combined with the
concrete materials and spaces that architecture can make use of.
This is a task, we understand, which requires a sense of contextual
rhythm and the human pulse, of the "randomness and vagaries of
weather and geography". As opposed to the virtual, graphic space of
the computer where everything is possible, in the real world, it is
literally uphill to build, to write - and to paint really well, as
On 20 August, the Henning Larsen Foundation and Arkitektens Forlag
TID & RUM / TIME & SPACE
At skrive om arkitektur / Writing about
The book presents the winning texts in Danish and English.
The book can be purchased in the nearest bookstore or at
Arkitektens Forlag's website, www.arkfo.dk/shop.
TID & RUM / TIME & SPACE
Editor: Martin Keiding
Foreword: Troels Troelsen
Graphic design: Per Henrik Skou
72 pages, 14.5 x 25 cm, hardback, the Henning Larsen Foundation
& Arkitektens Forlag, 2012. Published with support from Henning
Larsen Architects. ISBN 9788774074108. Price: DKK 245.