Time for Architecture Festival! A festival providing the questions and inspiration for our local discussions about how Odense becomes the best possible city. This week's four recommendations are connected. The first recommends the opening lecture of the festival that discusses whether Danish cities are turning welfare for the many into prosperity for the few. Then a bike ride to Anton Rosens buildings in Odense, that accentuates architectural quality. At last to films about to different ways to greening the city: A film about Piet Oudolf, who planted the High Line in New York and then a film about the wild green spaces of Berlin. Enjoy the festival! Bo Jessen

Fri 2
10/2/2020 4:00:00 PM 10/2/2020 40 Architecture Festival: Opening lecture The good city thrives with contrasts Ny Vestergade 13, Odense C Odense Architecture Festival false DD-MM-YYYY

Architecture Festival: Opening lecture The good city thrives with contrasts


Architecture Festival: Opening lecture
Talk and debate | Kl. 16:00 | Ny Vestergade 13, Odense C | Price: 0 Kr. | Buy tickets here | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen

Location: The Studio Gallery
Organizer: Odense Architecture Festival

The Corona-delayed architecture festival opens this week and it has the most relevant theme imaginable: City of Wealth or City of Welfare? In a multiplicity of ways, this is precisely the question at the heart of all the debates being had about the good city in Odense right now.

At the opening lecture, Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss, author of the book “Kritisk By” (Critical City) sets the tone. He posits that Danish welfare cities are transforming into cities of wealth meant only for the elite.

For me, this theme hits home for two reasons. Partly because the underlying dynamics that drive urban development today: Power and profit, only rarely let themselves be tamed by well-meant visions and only only superficially shaped by soft words. And partly because architecture – which is at the center of urban development – is essentially as full of contradictions as life. In doubt and always up for debate.

Because some parts of the city are simply better than others, but if you eliminate the one, you end up missing something. When something is especially beautiful, because it has been crafted by a firm vision, there’s less room for interpretation. The better a city gets, the less people can afford to use it. The most beautiful ideals have created the worst cities – but urban development without ideals has no future. Development is a way to improve the city, but at its inception, the goal of a better city is secondary to the goal of making money. The dense interconnectedness of cities is the strongest source of our creativity, but it also drains our brains. Green cities promote health, but the more nature in the city, the more space is takes away from nature.

If anyone tells you that the road to the good city lies at the end of a particularly defined path, you should be on guard. Regardless of whether it’s the hedonistic hotshot architect, Bjarke Ingels, or the foreman for Arkitekturoprøret (the “Architectural Revolution”).

Here’s my critical manifesto on the good city: The good city is constantly in motion. The good city cannot exist in a standstill and can’t be found in a compromise. The good city is in a dialogue between contradictory visions, that don’t seem to be able to live together. A city is by definition a place where opposites meet, and when the contrasts are negated, the city becomes either a sound-stage selling you the lie of the good life, or a sodden mass without any activating dynamism.

What does that mean? Well, a street under construction is not an obstacle. It is a dream that you can decide the contents of. The good city is super urban, but also wild and radically green. In the good city, rich and poor live side-by-side, with kids in the same schools, taking part in the same conversations. In the good city, you will find perfectly planned works with mosaic tiles and artfully laid brick and back alleys with graffiti and dirt. The good city has presentable fronts and ellipses which need to be discovered. The good city has a tempo that can force your brain to achieve unimaginable things, but there has to be just as much room for drifting off in a reverie.

Happy architecture festival!

Disclaimer: The Architecture festival is organized by Mira and Pil, who are a part of This Is Odense. They don’t have an impact on this weeks recommendations, but we like to give due notice when we know the people we’re recommending. See the full program at https://cafx.dk/odense/.

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Fri 2
10/2/2020 10:00:00 AM 10/2/2020 40 Architecture Festival: Natura Urbana - The Brachen of Berlin A peek into the wild life of Berlins green in between spaces Brandts Passage 39, Odense C Odense Architecture Festival, Cafe Biografen false DD-MM-YYYY

Architecture Festival: Natura Urbana - The Brachen of Berlin A peek into the wild life of Berlins green in between spaces


Architecture Festival: Natura Urbana - The Brachen of Berlin
Movie | Kl. 10:00 | Brandts Passage 39, Odense C | Price: 50 Kr. | Buy tickets here | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Francois Picard

Location: Cafe biografen
Organizer: Odense Architecture Festival, Cafe Biografen

When people sigh about the nineties Berlin, they often refer to East Berlin's nightclubs, flea markets with relics from the post-war years and a murky, cheap, hedonistic and urban delicacy that can apparently only be found in big cities when they move from one period to another.

Slightly more unusually, people refer to Berlin's green spaces. The so-called "Brachen". Self-growing green natural sites, which were never colonized by buildings after World War II, which stood as a reminder of the permanent city boundary after the fall of the Wall, and which are a big part of the wild Berlin.

Playgrounds for the city's artists, laboratories for biologists and botanists and breathing space for Berlin's hyper social population.

But like the city's affordable housing, the green sites are on the verge of disappearing. Bit by bit in the large housing market grinding machine that is slowly swallowing, clearing, and unifying the wildness of Berlin.

These green spaces are the main characters of the movie "Natura Urbana - The Brachen of Berlin", which will be shown at this year's architecture festival in Cafe Biografen.

Watch the trailer here:

The film is introduced by festival director Pil Lindgreen.

Disclaimer: The Architecture festival is organized by Mira and Pil, who are a part of This Is Odense. They don’t have an impact on this weeks recommendations, but we like to give due notice when we know the people we’re recommending. See the full program at https://cafx.dk/odense/.

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Sat 3
10/3/2020 2:00:00 PM 10/3/2020 15:00 40 Architecture Festival: On a bike with Anton Rosen On a bike ride to some of the city's finest architectural pieces Dronning Olgas Vej 24, Odense C. Odense Architecture Festival, Byforeningen Odense, Lone Jensen false DD-MM-YYYY

Architecture Festival: On a bike with Anton Rosen On a bike ride to some of the city's finest architectural pieces


Architecture Festival: On a bike with Anton Rosen
Other | Kl. 14:00 - 15:00 | Dronning Olgas Vej 24, Odense C. | Price: 0 Kr. | Buy tickets here | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Francois Picard

Location: Dronning Olgas Vej 24
Organizer: Odense Architecture Festival, Byforeningen Odense, Lone Jensen

One of the events I look the most forward to during this year's architecture festival is a bike ride in Anton Rosen's architectural Odenseaner footsteps, guided by Lone Jensen who has written a book about him - "Anton Rosen – en ener i dansk arkitektur".

So, who was this Rosen? at least a man with a flair for detail. One of the few architects from flat Denmark who could handle Art Nouveau without causing nausea. A transitional figure after historicism. Active as an architect at a time when the prestige of the wealthy could still be read on the details of the buildings that were erected.

Born in Horsens, lived in Silkeborg for many years, died in Copenhagen. But somehow with some affinity for Odense. Perhaps partly because Rosen was a mentor for Bent Helweg-Møller, who later had to draw the extension of the town hall, and partly as the designer of several buildings in the city, some of which still standing today.

Curiously enough, Rosen was also the designer of the Palace Hotel on Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen, which tower still competes with the tower of the Copenhagen City Hall, designed by Martin Nyrop, grandfather of the later planning manager in Odense, Jannik Nyrop, who is one of the fathers of Odense current major transformation.

Ok. Maybe we are going a little too far trying to establish a strong connection to Odense.

But I am as well myself connected to Rosen. Without knowing it, I have somehow followed him for the last 15-20 years.

In high school I had a girlfriend who lived in the former Hotel on Kongensgade 71 designed by Rosen. A distinctive organic building with two towers, half-timbered bay windows and, I still remember it, a beautiful elevator from Thomas B. Thrige, which was the first elevator TBT ever made.

And while I am writing this recommendation, I look at the listed building on the other side of the street, which is also designed by Rosen. A spire in copper, applied to a pennant with the year 1902 cut out in neat shape, which highlights the building's backbone, the protruding bay windows in lime sandstone and on top of a small Art Nouveau-decorated balcony on the 3rd floor. Under the windows with brick and cement stone patterns. Small copper-framed details. A solid bodily foundation in stone. Too ornamented to my liking, but a skilled building.

I am sure both buildings are part of the bike ride. Try to notice how many common details can be seen on these two buildings (the windows and the ground floors for instance), even though Rosen always had the ambition to create something new with each new building.

The tour starts in Åløkkekvarteret.

Disclaimer: The Architecture festival is organized by Mira and Pil, who are a part of This Is Odense. They don’t have an impact on this weeks recommendations, but we like to give due notice when we know the people we’re recommending. See the full program at https://cafx.dk/odense/.

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Sat 3
10/3/2020 12:00:00 PM 10/3/2020 40 Architecture Festival: Film about Piet Oudolf Follow the man who planted High Line in New York - when you cultivate green spaces to appear wild Brandts Passage 39, Odense C Odense Architecture Festival, Cafe Biografen false DD-MM-YYYY

Architecture Festival: Film about Piet Oudolf Follow the man who planted High Line in New York - when you cultivate green spaces to appear wild


Architecture Festival: Film about Piet Oudolf
Movie | Kl. 12:00 | Brandts Passage 39, Odense C | Price: 50 Kr. | Buy tickets here | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Francois Picard

Location: Cafe biografen
Organizer: Odense Architecture Festival, Cafe Biografen

Traditionally, urban planners and landscape architects have tried to reconcile the green and the city with a trade-off, where the green becomes more and more well-dressed, tidy, and manicured the closer you get to the city core. Think close-cut lawns and flowerpots with petunias, which are cleared and trimmed when they wither. Even with the industrial society’s motto about divided functions: there must be green where there must be green, and the city must be where the city must be.

I believe that is completely wrong. I mean, some green areas in the central part of the city should be specifically designed to support many different activities. It is indeed not that easy to drink beers, play kongespil, sunbathe and study for exams in the middle of a forest or a meadow.

But there is nowhere else more than in the urban jungle that we need wilderness. It breaks the city up in surprises, it stimulates our brains, it relieves stress.

Imagine that a part of Albanigade, or any other super urbanized area of Odense, had a piece of asphalt peeled off where a wildflower field or an English landscape grows instead. In my eyes, it is how Odense should be, and it would totally be the city's most photographed square meter.

The challenge, of course, is how to make the self-growing wilderness live side by side with concrete and clinker, winter salt and cars and drunk teenagers.

It is not necessary to be aware of that. A man like Piet Oudolf created a new trend in urban planning, where you make the well-dressed green wild.

At the architecture festival, a portrait documentary of Piet Oudolf and his garden art will be shown. He creates seasonal, sensory perennial artworks, where the nature wilderness is reconciled with the conscious artistic choice. It is about highlighting the beauty of both blossom and decay. Beauty in the unexpected. In the opposites. Thus, Oudolf can help people who have grown up with tidiness as an ideal to perceive what the wilder and more biodiverse urban planning of the future can look like.

It creates some amazing and surprising nature experiences that you understand only when you stand in the middle of them.

How many people who have been to New York have the High Line, planted by Oudolf, as one of their highlights? I know some of them.

The NY’s High Line is a good example. A wild, vibrant, and beautiful experience. To the untrained eye, it almost seems that New York's robust plant species themselves have found their way to the old railroad tracks, thus bringing an abandoned area into the city of the future, taking this tough environment of the 80s-90s as its starting point. But that is not the case: grasses, perennials and trees on the High Line have been meticulously selected, imported from the American prairie and neatly planted, among other things.

A bit like Central Park, which is the part of New York that has changed the most from its original design, with well-placed rocks, lakes, and other scenery, but which appears as an abandoned relic of the past America.

Of course, this also leads to some criticism towards Uodolf. Shouldn't more native species be used? Shouldn't there be room for real wilderness? Well, yes, but I think Oudolf's gardens are part of the solution: they reveal what people could not see before. And in 10 years, people will not strangely look at you when you decide not to mow the lawn or when you say that nature is most beautiful in October.

When you watch the movie, ask yourself what surprising places in the central part of Odense a Piet Oudolf garden could be located in. From there, it just needs to be made.

Watch the trailer here:

The film is introduced by festival director Pil Lindgreen.

Disclaimer: The Architecture festival is organized by Mira and Pil, who are a part of This Is Odense. They don’t have an impact on this weeks recommendations, but we like to give due notice when we know the people we’re recommending. See the full program at https://cafx.dk/odense/.

Link to the event



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