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Official visit to Mexico: Opening of architecture exhibition

Speech given by Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess at the opening of the exhibition ”Kristin Jarmund Architects – Selected Works”, Mexico city 17 March 2009.

Senoras y senores,
Ladies and gentlemen,

In Berlin, Norway and Mexico are neighbours. In the German capital, Francisco Serrano and Teodoro González de León and the Norwegian architects Snøhetta face each other across the street. The two remarkable buildings host the Mexican and the Norwegian embassies. They illustrate the impact and symbolism buildings can have, and the role architecture can play in promoting a nation.

It is said that architecture is basically philosophy - a living structure, always appearing new and different as you move from one philosophical point to another. Capturing the past in its different aspects and nuances, is a creative process.

But architecture is also history. It reflects different times, personalities, ideas and ideologies. In a historical perspective, Norwegian building tradition has produced few monumental buildings. This has now changed. Today we see a new generation of architects that is not only creating new buildings, but also new landmarks. One example is the new Opera House in Oslo, an outstanding piece of architecture designed by the firm Snøhetta, which I just mentioned. Snøhetta became internationally known overnight when it won the competition for the new Library of Alexandria in 1989.

Another remarkable Norwegian architect is Kristin Jarmund – one of very few female architects to run her own firm.

“Designing a house is like telling a story”, she says. “A house should not only be beautiful, a house should also tell you something – about its site, about its neighbours and about its function.” Today it’s a great pleasure to open the doors to her stories here in Mexico city.

Her work is immediately recognisable by her use of bright colours. It should be no surprise that one of her favourite architects is Mexico’s own Luis Barragán.

I am both honoured and proud to present the exhibition “Kristin Jarmund Architects – Selected Works” here at the Faculty of Architecture at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México - UNAM. Honoured, because Mexico’s rich cultural and historical heritage has made Mexican architecture a point of reference for many international architects. Proud because contemporary architecture is a field where Norway has achieved international recognition.

The exhibition presents ten of Kristin Jarmund’s most important projects, from smaller interior installations to large office buildings. They have been photographed mainly by Per Maning, one of Norway’s most renowned art photographers, whose works can be found for example in the collections of MoMA in New York and Kiasma in Helsinki.

(Kristin Jarmund studied at the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology – NTNU, a university that is well represented here today. Thanks to the Faculty of Architecture here at UNAM and the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art at NTNU, Mexican and Norwegian architects and students will during the next few days have the opportunity work together in seminars and workshops. I hope this is only the beginning of close collaboration between the two universities for many years to come.)

I would like to thank UNAM for generously hosting the exhibition “Kristin Jarmund Architects – Selected works”. It is a great pleasure to declare the exhibition open.

Thank you.


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