I have not had the capacity to follow the political and administrative process that lead to the demolition of the Y block, which is happening now.
The Y block, so called because of its shape, was drawn by Norwegian architect Erling Viksjø, the decorations made in cooperation with Pablo Picasso, who did the drawings for the murals.
It is built in roughly the same period as the Berlin Philharmonie, or, considering that all assemblies of buildings are very small in Norway, you could in a way compare it to a tiny bit of Alexanderplatz, a showcase for the government, in our case Social Democratic, not Communist.
Architecture of power is always problematic, at least for a period of time, and I must admit that I don’t love the Y block even if many do. But the building of the new management bunker, sorry, I would use such a name for it, is in my opinion worse.
It gives me an awkward position, but I have signed the petition to stop the demolition, also because of what it gives way to.
Our government is also in a process of being completely changed by neoliberals, and the demolition of this building is of course very much a symbolic action. This is a view from Youngstorget of the planned buildings, home of the Social Democratic Party and the Labour Union, and the normal gathering place for May Day and other demonstrations:
The Y block and neighbouring H block survived the bomb of Anders Behring Breivik without substantial damage, other than windows.
The government has planned to cut loose the Picasso/Nesjar murals and to place them in the new government quarters.
Security is very much an argument for this project, but I find the way of thinking actually dumb, simply consisting of gathering more or less all government offices in one place.
It will of course have all the technical security measures that a socalled modern society can afford.
I care more for the city.
It is under pressure, like most other cities in the world, I believe – from big money and its political representatives. Ours is a small city, with only 650 000 inhabitants in the city itself, excluding surrounding municipalities. We have not much to lose.
An inside view of the Y block:
This is what is coming instead, which for me is maybe the most important reason to stop the plans for the area, in addition to the destruction of art by Picasso, which was made as part of the building.
The price of this building project is not known, but between 2 to 3 billion Euro is an estimate.
As many public building budgets are set too low for obvious political reasons, exceeding the budgets is a normal thing in Norway.
Environmentally, it is of course not sound.
I would very much like you to sign the petition to stop the demolition of the Y block, and please hang on further on as the new government quarters is also a project that should be stopped, in my opinion.