The exhibition Define/Refine – South Sweden Critical Regionalism in a Globalised World takes its starting point in the concept of Critical Regionalism to discuss local architecture in a global world.

The aim of the exhibition Define/Refine is to foster a discussion on architecture’s role in shaping a region’s identity. What is the nature of an architecture that emerges from its local, natural and cultural context? How can it be rooted yet varied and inquiring, respect history and context while serving as the starting point for innovation, and in its design be an expression of its time?

The exhibition takes its starting point in the concept of Critical Regionalism, which is useful for discussing a regionally rooted innovative architecture. Regionalism means researching and learning from one’s specific natural and cultural context. Having a critical attitude in regionalism means avoiding superficial copying and sentimentality in order to seek a unique, forward-look- ing and modern architecture, with a sense of place.

Parallel with the development towards a global world order and a modernist international and often placeless architecture, for more than a century there have been movements in theory and practice that have sought to root architecture in its regional, natural and cultural context. Architects and theorists such as Ian McHarg, Liane Lefaivre + Alexander Tzonis, Kenneth Frampton and Susannah Hagan have propounded the idea that a regionally rooted architecture can accommodate a place’s history, nature and culture while remaining innovative. With the point of departure in a critical approach, archi- tects can design contemporary architecture that is modern and unique, locally rooted and at the same time inclusive towards a global context. Such an architecture can advance a sustainability agenda as it corresponds to local climate conditions, material production, social life and so forth.

Based on respect for and knowledge of their region, architects as well as artists have a respon- sibility, and freedom, to interpret and contribute to the improvement of the characteristics of a region and its identity. Employing Critical Regionalism as an approach, architecture can be created in an ongoing negotiation of what defines a place, a negotiation between aesthetics, culture and human life, nature and sustainability and identity – between history, present and future.

Participating team:

Five teams have been selected to participate in the exhibition Define/Refine and will in various ways discuss and relate to the theme of Critical Regionalism in southern Sweden.

  • Skånearkitektur – lera, tegel, sten och kalk (Skåne architecture – clay, brick, stone and lime) 
    • Carmen Izquierdo, architect
    • Mariano Tellechea, architect
    • Kerstin Barup, architect
    • Mats Edström, architect
  • 100 former/100 berättelser. Om det platsspecifika i en föränderlig värld (100 forms / 100 stories. About the place-specific in a changing world) 
    • Karin Andersson, landscape architect
    • Johanna Bratel, landscape architect
    • Rebecka Engvall, architect
    • Carolina Pérez Rabelo, architect
  • Framtidens boende är i byn: Scenario kring utveckling av småländska byar (The future of living is in the village: Scenario around development of Småland villages)
    • Eva Haraldsson, architect
    • Kristina Bornholm, architect
    • Kirsi Jarnerö, researcher and process manager
  • Scania – the Glocal community. From Agriculture to Multiculture
    • Erik Giudice, architect
    • Gustav Magnusson, planner
    • Jonas Nordgren, architect
    • Lia Ghilardi, culture planner
  • Skånsk lera. Material, arkitektur och hantverk (Skånsk clay. Materials, architecture and crafts) 
    • Gunilla Svensson, architect
    • Pernilla Norrman, ceramist



Sveriges Arkitekter (Architects Sweden)
Architects Sweden is a professional organization for architects, interior architects, landscape architects and spatial planners with 13 000 members (including 2 600 students). Architects Sweden work to improve the conditions of the members and for the architecture to take up more space in society.

Sveriges Arkitekter på Form/Design Center
During 2017/18, Form/Design Center developed a pilot project in Skåne together with Architects Sweden with the aim of increasing cooperation regionally/nationally and strengthening the discussion about architecture. The result was that as of 2019, Architects Sweden has established a branch for southern Sweden with an office at Form/Design Center.