Et nederlag for norsk demokrati og total overkjøring av faglig ekspertise. Det er konklusjoen i et skarpt brev fra det internasjonale kulturminnenettverket ICOMOS til regjeringen Solberg.
International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) er et internasjonalt nettverk av kulturminneeksperter som blant annet er rådgiver for UNESCO i verdensarvspørsmål. Nå har presidenten i ICOMOS skrevet brev til Solberg-regjeringen angående rivesøknaden for Y-blokka. Prosessen rundt det tidlige vedtaket om å utelate Y-blokka fra et fremtidig regjeringskompleks slaktes: Total overkjøring av all faglig ekspertise og fravær av reelle demokratiske prosesser.
I brevet heter det at Norge, er åpent land som holder de demokratiske prinsippene høyt, i denne saken har sviktet de samme prinsippene. Y-blokka representerer intet mindre enn et nederlag for demokratiet. Brevet er adressert til statsminster Erna Solberg, klima- og miljøminister Ola Elvestuen og kommunal- og moderniseringsminister Monica Mæland, samt til Plan- og bygningsetaten i Oslo:
Subject : Akersgata 44, Demolition of the Y-Block
Dear Prime Minister, Ministers, Madam/Sir,
We are writing with reference to the official demolition application sent by the Nordic Office of Architecture AS, to the Municipality of Oslo - Planning and Building Office on 20 December 2018, ref. 201818270.ICOMOS (The International Council on Monuments and Sites) is dismayed to learn that the Norwegian Government has not taken our International Heritage Alert dated 28 September 2016 into consideration.
We observe that no comments from Norway’s own cultural heritage authorities or other Norwegian or international heritage experts have been taken into consideration. The report from the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage made an assessment in 2013, which concludes:“The main construction and artwork of the H-block and the Y-block were not damaged by the terror attack. The cultural heritage, architectural and artistic values in the complex have not been undermined. The Directorate for Cultural Heritage recommends preservation.
Norway is a highly respected nation for its democratic values and transparency. It is also widely recognized for its forward thinking attitude concerning issues of cultural heritage. The international scientific community is quite amazed at the lack of respect for the professionality of both international expertise and Norway’s own official directorates and offices. The process, as far as we can see, has not done honour to Norway’s rich democratic tradition.
The Government Quarter of Norway in Oslo, consisting of the H-block from 1958 and the Y-block from 1969, are considered to be the most important monumental expressions of post-World War II modernism in Norway within both architecture and the pictorial arts. The two buildings, designed by Erling Viksjø, are Norway’s most important symbols of post-war optimism and belief in international democracy, dialogue and openness. Besides the obvious architectural and symbolic qualities, the rare qualities of the building complex is further enhanced by the inseparable integration of the iconic art works by Picasso and other Norwegian artists working together with him.Any dismantling of these art works, if such a process should be successful, will impair the art works and wherever they are exhibited, it will be an exhibition of shame.
On 15 February 2016, ICOMOS had a meeting with the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Administration. Present at the meeting were State Secretary Paul Chaffey, representatives from the Department for Central Government Building, Security and Administrative Services and a representative from the Ministry of Climate and Environment, Department for Cultural Heritage Management and representatives for ICOMOS. ICOMOS had also prepared a statement, published on Youtube.
The State Secretary was very clear on the point, that the decision to demolish the Y-block was already made on a governmental level, and was hardly approachable. The main argument being security, since a thoroughfare runs in a tunnel beneath the short, northern wing of the building. Parts of the building, amongst which the northern wing, are actually still today in full use by government employees, who are very happy to work in the building. The security claim is seen by ICOMOS as questionable, as the government has until today not provided any documentation as to the necessity of demolishing the Y-block. This was stated in the ICOMOS International Heritage Alert in 2016, and the situation has not changed.The conclusion of ICOMOS and other professional stakeholders is that demolishing the Y-block has been a presupposition for all planning work and zoning plans for the area, excluding any informed discussion on a possible and sustainable use of the Y-block. All feasibility studies that were presented in April 2015 were made on this basis. No consideration was given to the inherent artistic qualities of the Y-block and its possible reuse as part of a rebuilding project. It was excluded already as point of departure. These political decisions have been made in spite of clear, well founded studies and recommendations made by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage in 2013, and repeated in 2016. The decisions and position of the Norwegian Government will seem incomprehensible only a few years from now, too late, and only to shame Norway internationally.ICOMOS is surprised that the Norwegian Government after being presented such clear advice against a demolition, upholds its original intention without any room for discussion. As stated in the Heritage Alert, there seems to have been no informed discussion on possible and sustainable use of the Y-block.
A demolition of the Y-block in Oslo represents a loss of international cultural heritage, and a defeat for democracy itself. ICOMOS strongly recommends the Norwegian Government to revise its ill-considered decision.Yours sincerely,Toshiyuki KonoPresident of ICOMOS
Toshiyuki KonoToshiyuki Kono
President of ICOMOS