Plans to demolish a government building decorated with murals by Pablo Picasso and Carl Nesjar in Oslo are to go ahead despite protests. The brutalist building, named Y-blokka for the letter it mimics, was designed by architect Erling Viksjø in 1969 and houses several offices for the Norwegian government. Beginning in the late 1950s Picasso began working on murals for the government quarter, placing five murals in and on buildings in the area, two of which, The Fishermen and The Seagull, decorate Y-blokka.
Officials began discussing plans to demolish the building last year, after it (and surrounding buildings) suffered structural damage during a domestic terrorist attack in 2011. On 26 February 2020, minister of local government and modernisation Nikolai Astrup announced that the government intended to begin demolition very soon.
Opponents of the plans have formed a group, The Support Action for the Preservation of Y-blokka, which has a live petition here. They are supported by other organisations such as the Norwegian UNESCO Commission, the National Trust of Norway and the Association of Norwegian Architects (NAL), who all argue that the government should explore other options due to the building’s ‘exceptional architectural, artistic, historical and symbolic value.’
4 March 2020