Protesters who’ve been trying to preserve the damaged government office building known as “Y-blokka” say they’re evaluating any further legal action, after the Oslo County Court ruled against them and cleared the way for it to be town down.
“Spirits are low, we have to decide what we’re going to do now,” Gisle Løkken, president of the Norwegian architects’ national organization, told newspaper Dagsavisen. He received word just before the Easter holidays began that the court had ruled against the architects and other fans of the building, which is best known for featuring murals drawn by famed artist Pablo Picasso and sandblasted onto its walls by Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar.
Løkken called the court ruling “a defeat for culture in Norway,” while state officials have stressed that the murals can and will be preserved and remounted on a larger new building that will replace Y-blokka, which was damaged in a right-wing extremist’s bombing of Norway’s government complex in 2011.
Løkken and other opponents of the state’s plans can appeal, but since razing can now begin in April, he admitted that more court action may be wasted if the building is already torn apart. The opponent’s lawyer, Berit Reiss-Andersen, has claimed that “very many” Norwegians are upset by plans to tear down the building “because destruction … was also the terrorist’s goal.” The high-rise that once housed the justice ministry and Office of the Prime Minister, however, will be preserved.