China's leading architecture firms and real estate developers have visited Oslo to look at some of the best examples of Norwegian architecture, and meet with the projects' architects.
"The Norwegian consulate in Guangzhou initiated the visit, based on a request from Chinese architects and real estate developers. They wanted to see Norwegian architecture, and discuss the possibility of exporting both skills and resources to China with Norwegian architects," says Egil Skavang, CEO of Arkitektbedriftene, the trade organization for architects, landscape architects and interior designers in Norway.
However, the visit was not completely coincidental, but linked to an increasing interest for Norwegian architecture in China, Aftenposten reports.
Whereas Chinese architecture quickly became a fast-growing number of building projects, both in height and volume, the country has now identified a need for future projects to move closer to nature. As a result, they look to Norway for inspiration for sustainable projects that involve renewable energy and aim to integrate the building with its surrounding landscape.
Already Niels Torp Architects have won a contract with China Eastern Airlines, which means that they'll design the airline's new 225,000 square meter head office. Peter Pran, a Norwegian-American architect, won the architectural contest for Nanjing Civic and Cultural Center, a 48,000 square meter cultural center in the city of Nanjing.
"Norway's best designers have a good shot at getting projects in China now; they have the courage to create bold architecture," Peter Pran tells Aftenposten.