Uralistica

THE SAAMI BUILDING TRADITION : A COMPLEX PICTURE

Sápmi stretches throughout a landscape of diverse topography and climate. The differences in the Saami building traditions follow these variations, being formed by both the
landscape and the local resources. This fact makes it difficult to speak
about a unified Saami building tradition as a whole. In a
Saami-Norwegian context, there is an over-emphasis placed on the
reindeer herders from “indre Finnmark” and their building methods. The
reason for this is that the Saami settlements have been (and still are)
in the majority in these regions. It is easier to detect the traces of
continuation of both building traditions and way of life in the Saami
settlements. Buildings that are directly connected to the reindeer
herders' way of life, especially the Lávvu, the Luovvi and the Áiti, are
left standing as frequently used symbols of the true and genuine Saami
way of building. The problem is that this often overshadows the
differentiations that exist within the Saami building tradition, and
therefore, the differences between north and south, the coast and the
mainland are easily neglected and forgotten. Last but not least, this
singular focus also disregards the fact that our building tradition has,
along with the other regional building traditions of northern Europe,
been changed and influenced from the outside throughout the ages.



The development of “Sápmi” as a modern society and nation has been rapidly accelerating during the past thirty years. Undoubtedly architecture has developed as a natural part of this process and also by
the factors mentioned above. This development is a formal expression of
a culture’s collective identity, both in a historical and contemporary
sense. It defines people, cultures and nations, and plays an important
part in a society’s definition of itself and its identity, not only from
a contemporary perspective, but also in terms of their future
development and what they want to become. If contemporary architecture
found in Sápmi today can be said to be a
“collective-identity-indicator”, one that truly expresses our modern
Sámi culture to the outside world, then I feel as though it is
fragmented and failing to fully address the complexity, diversity, and
multiple perspectives of the saami building tradition. The majority of
the architecture attempting to incorporate a saami identity into its
architectural design commonly relies on methods referring to visual and
formal elements, models and patterns found in traditional Sámi
architecture. A good example of this method and the use of strong visual
metaphor would be the Reindeer herder’s nomadic tent, the Lávvu, and
how it is presented as an enlarged conical shape embedded in an
otherwise quite conventional type of construction. A number of different
variations in both the use and purpose of this type of building can be
found throughout the whole region. Some variations function within the
realm of tourism, where the Lávvu-shape underlines the Saami/Laplandish
exoticism that is sold to visitors, while others function as important
cultural institutions self-governed by the Saami community. The method
has been so widely used that it has resulted in the birth of what one
could call the Giant Lávvu typology of the North. It
is a typology that is purely symbolic, describing a difference between
neighboring cultures instead of searching for an architectural potential
that might be embedded within it. It is the shape, the visual symbols,
the position and outward symbolic effect of these buildings, rather than
the creators or their use, that qualify them to be seen as contemporary
Saami architecture. They all too often come off looking like desperate
attempts to position themselves as strictly Saami, and therefore, as
something distinctively different from the Norwegian/Russian/ Swedish/
Finnish architecture that we are surrounded by. And it is here where
many of the problems lie. Often times when a ”Norwegian” architect
attempts to incorporate a specific Saami expression into their
architectural design, the emphasis is placed on elements that differ
between the two cultures. The visual elements that the two cultures
share are automatically referred to as “Norwegian” rather than “Saami”,
which then unfortunately forces the idea of “Saami-ness” to become
limited and transforms it into something static and exotic. This
unfortunate aspect of contemporary Saami architecture makes it tempting
to describe these giant Lávvus as more of a syndrome
that portrays a simplified picture of our culture and runs the risk of
hindering the natural growth of our inclusive modern tradition.


In order to improve the tendencies found in current-day Saami architecture, it is important that a discussion about the future of Saami architecture is initiated. And, in order to make room for an
architecture that is able to present a more genuine and multi-faceted
image of our culture, it is essential that this discussion be directed
by the Saami community itself. In the end a discussion such as this
might uncover the need for an alternative and more inclusive model for
architectural design, in which there is a closer dialogue between the
designers and the community that the model is designed for. The time of
the giant Lávvu is over. What we need is an architecture that is able to
see beyond the formal and visual representations of our culture.


A fruitful way of approaching this might be to understand the Saami building tradition as a way of thinking. It is easy to spot a tradition of “Saami attitude”, one that brings forth a pragmatic, composite and
complex vernacular architecture often bearing the quintessential
elements of recycling and spontaneous use of materials such as local
wood, plastic and fiber cloths, folded-out oil barrels, cardboard,
isolation-foam, etc. and whatever else might be available on site. This
demonstrates a specific Saami ability to adapt and improvise according
to context, surroundings and landscape. From an architectural point of
view it might therefore be just as interesting to focus on the Saami art
of building from a more regional perspective. Instead
of letting an ethnical viewpoint simplify the picture and define the
Saami building tradition as a whole, it is more useful to focus on the
Saami way of thinking, where the unified Saami building tradition is
recognized by a sensitive relation to the landscape and the specific
ecological, spiritual and historical criterias provided by the site
itself.




Joar Nango
is an architect with a Norwegian-Saami background.
At the moment he is working at NTNU in Trondheim. Since 2007 Nango has
been writing, editing and publishing "Sami Huksendaidda:the FANzine" as a
part of his ongoing research on contemporary Saami
architecture.

http://www.northernexperiments.net/index.php?/saami-building/

Lovozero hotel (Russia)


A chapel (Norway)


Building in Kirkenes (Norway)


Lavvu building in Nikel (Norway)


Church in Karasjok (Norway)


Building in Saariselkä (Finland)


Building in Lovozero (Russia)


Kautokeino Cultural Centre (Norway)


Saami parliament in Karasjok (Norway)


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Ответы на эту тему форума

нравятся попытки включения традиционных форм в современные. наиболее отчетливо, по-моему. это выражено в проектах Saami parliament in Karasjok (Norway), Kautokeino Cultural Centre (Norway), Church in Karasjok (Norway), Building in Saariselkä (Finland)
но и российские проекты тоже неплохие, не думал, что и у нас есть такие эксперименты
Great to see Saami buildings! It will be one step to get back best all useful ideas for architecture in arctic Lapland and of course with new technology without losing the best part of history. Its good, if people can download the best of own pictures also.
Here is one link to start:
http://www.utexas.edu/courses/sami/dieda/anthro/architecture.htm

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