Nightlands is a pioneering exploration of both the forms and poetics of Nordic place. Specifically, it examines the art of building in four Nordic countries—Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland—and the sometimes shared, sometimes contrasting regional experience and character expressed by each. From a medieval castle in Sweden to an Aalto-designed sanitorium in Finland, this landmark work explores the myths, meanings, and built realities of Nordic countries and, in so doing, attempts to define, for the first time, what distinguishes Nordic building from Mediterranean architecture, and how the natural world of the North contrasts with both the perception and reality of the South.
"Written from the heart and beautifully presented, the book is full of valuable insights into the pleasures of Nordic building."
—Richard Weston, The Architects' Journal
“Christian Norberg-Schulz lives and studies in Oslo and in Rome. In contrasting with the natural world of the North and that of the Mediterranean, he establishes his interpretation of architecture as a ‘form of understanding…[an] explanation of the unity of life and place, in order that we understand where we are, how we are, what we are.’ He finds the architecture of both regions sensibly related to their environments; but the South lends itself to abstraction while the North is marked by variation, openness, and dynamism. Rather than offering a representation, Northern architecture engages one as a participant. Norberg-Schulz’s distinguished scholarly production provides the theoretical structure that underlies this book; but that weight is borne lightly as he insightfully places the architecture of his native North in the framework of his lifelong project of understanding architecture.”
—Stanford Anderson, Chairman of the Department of Architecture, MIT