An evening redness in the North West

Rever & Drage's Martin Beverfjord considers their work and connections to More og Romsdal, the mid-western coastal county region south of Trondheim where many of the small studio's projects have been built. Alongside Beverfjord's essay, there are some introductory words laying out the context by friend and colleague, Håkon Eriksen

Håkon Eriksen - What to say about this piece of work? From the start Rever & Drage were anti-establishment. Not in a spectacular David Bowie-way, but in a childish and down-to-earth defiance of the pretentious. They are in spirit true, and anti-glorious, rebels. Accepting random ideas and humor as core values, and at the same time heralding the elaborate nature of architecture as a trustworthy profession.

Martin Beverfjord, Tom Auger and Eirik Lilledrange all graduated from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2008. Three years before that they had already started up their office. As we all have, one way or another, Rever & Drage have also tried to be popular, but their attempted advances in the direction of the limelight have been remarkably dull. Thank God, they have realized their limitations and given up on this as a strategy for survival. They have instead been concentrating on their grassroots activity; making a small series of interesting buildings. So far the buildings are small scale, and most of them are situated in rural areas far from any known road (such as Møre & Romsdal, the focus of the following text). They combine classical architecture, folk and humour in a way that is worth a second glance, paying tributes to Robert Venturi, Rem Koolhaas, Mark E. Smith and the skilled Norwegian woodworkers they are working with.

Boggestranda 2015 - Photo Rever og Draga
Hytte Arsund 2015 – Photo Rever og Drage

If you run the name Rever & Drage through Google Translate, 'foxes & dragon' comes pooping out. I don't know what foxes or dragons have to do with building or drawing houses, why there is only one dragon, or why the number of foxes involved is not specified. Anyhow, if we are to speak of non-human creatures; consider Rever & Drage playing a role in a remake of the movie Gremlins, where Rever & Drage would play the role of Stripe. Or maybe, Mogwai. They are Mogwai with the stripe of Stripe.

These 3 guys deal in dynamic energy, displacement, surprise and tomfoolery. They are the ambitious, sneaky, joyful Doc Browns and Marty McFlys of the Norwegian architecture world. "That" is "them". The window hidden away on top of the old smokehouse, is impossible to make without smirking. The cabin in Boggestranda evokes a limping elegance, like a Paralympic athlete stepping it up and winning the gold medal in the Olympics. Are they poets posing in hard-hats for a photo-shoot? Are they builders scribbling stanzas on the rafters, steadily piecing the dream together?

Hustadvika tool shed – Photos Rever og Drage

Rever & Drage cherish architecture as something playful in the midst of all the gravity. They stand for untimeliness and opposition. Of doing something scholarly and simple at the same time. Or, funny without making a big deal out of it, and without a clear distinction between humor and seriousness. From time to time they manage to be poetic without ruining everything with convulsive or cliché ridden metaphors.

The fjords suddenly disappeared from Norway last week. It was, and still is, a national tragedy. Rever & Drage is now drawing up plans for new ones. Tom, Martin, and Eirik. Nice guys. They build it like they mean it.

Hopefully they will get better.

Martin Beverfjord - Chewing on Møre & Romsdal


The Atlantic Coast road crosses Stromsholmen island
Photo from
Silderøykeri boat shed on
Stromsholmen 2008-2010
Photo Rever og Drage
Torvik late January 2005. There is an atmosphere of frozen decay. Pink mountains are looming over chill blue valleys. Anarchists are still in virtual control of Møre & Romsdal, but the American revolution circa 1950 is still in full swing demolishing traditional know-how in favor of more effective ways. As always, this is the so far permanent condition in this dark corner of the Scandinavian experiment; the working class is in the saddle, while unaware of its position in any class-system at all. All native men and women raised to fully blooded multi-tools, used to the complexities and contradictions of the self-taught. It's an existence based on hatred of centralised bureaucracy and a self-reliant and naive openness to everything related to the ocean. Drawing is prohibited and subservient forms of speech, such as 'Yes, how may I please you Mr Architect' are frowned upon. Students of the Fine Arts are given what is comically called 'instruction' to prepare for digging dungeons of soaked clay. This is undertaken without any tools which are useful, nor with any heavy machinery; '...this truly is our darkest hour'. The recruits, mostly boys ignorant of the meaning of building, half-complains about the frustrating tendency of Norwegians to take action without planning. However, the generosity and invitations to take part as equals are beyond the imagination of anyone who can spell 'hierarchy'. We, Rever & Drage, head out to the territories to perform our cultural experiments, though, afterwards, returning to Trondheim it is crystal clear that the conquering-hero stuff-parades there is meaningless to the actual experience of the workers manning the shovels. The result: R&D gaze into the abyss of meant-to-be architecture and are left bewildered and also alienated both at their own kin and also at the passive-aggressive carpentry world. The feeling is that of 'known meeting known', which is left unrewarded and without any sort of spark.


Stromsholmen island – from

In the summer of 2008 R&D arrives in Strømsholmen, Eide. Washed ashore onto a stringlike archipelago linked by the Atlantic Ocean Road bridges. We are self-inflicted Robinsons, empty handed and striving in the June sleet, the aged encrustations of the quarter-of-a-millennium old timber frame are brushed off and returned to an upraised position by a variety of prosthesis' and crutches. During the third week decent axes are finally handed out. Beverfjord's was a Gränsfors Large Carving;  'It was sharp as a tack and worth praying for.' Friends are made and after this summer our work colleagues, trolls disguised as carpenters, are readily at hand whenever needed. The relative social equality prevails on a bed of democratic-revolutionary discipline, more reliable than might be expected. There is a hint of consciousness within the group; indeed an understanding of why some actions are smart and others dumb. It takes time to diffuse this, but it also takes time to drill a man into an automaton back in the office. There are all kinds of shortages and problems at the building site. Firewood, food, tobacco, tools, and adequate nail-gun munitions are in short supply, as well as the danger of accidents inherent in a badly trained and poorly armed group of architects. Yet, the feeling is still that of curiosity. 'Old-meeting-new', it's as plain and simple as that.


Pedervegen 8, Molde – Photos Rever og Drage

After some weeks at a traditional geitbåt-workshop in Valsøyfjord the R&D unit join a contingent of undefined eastern Europeans (some of them straight up fascists, but cosy and polite nevertheless) at a Molde mansion during 2011's blooming May springtime. The mansion sits on a ground with an undisturbed view of the ample panorama beyond the fjord to the south. There are for the first time some vague doubts about the value of digging. Hitherto the rights and wrongs had seemed so beautifully simple. Now simultaneously there is wildlife and a circus of life happening day and night. Sleep is disturbed by howling predators ranging the forest only ten feet away from the building site. Days are broken up by the hippie-activity of bystanders praising the unfinished building which is impossible to appreciate when several feet down in the dirt. Belief in God and Jesus varies with the field-dynamics. ('There are no atheists in the fox-holes.') Sometimes everything is silly, and it occurs to us that bad - and unsophisticated nature does exist. This grown-up criticism of nature makes way for God being replaced by becalmed anarchy. The prevailing mental atmosphere is that of the expert-team. Like the bombing squads of the old Flying Fortresses. (In effect a navigator, a rear-gunner and a Yossarian-ish character who can bomb the Germans to Hell.’) By this time the ordinary hierarchy had disappeared to such an extent that is almost unimaginable in the money-tainted air of Oslo and London. By the time R&D leave Møre & Romsdal they have become convinced that the expert-team with its structured anarchy is the only way to go. A true product of this hard land.


The fall 2013. Returned to the dramatic coastal landscape and endless shipwrecks and casualties of Hustadvika there are noteworthy changes in the philosophical atmosphere. Profoundly blasé the 'sons of engineers' are determined to make architecture as entertainment. Relevant as such for both architect and laymen. The magnitude of these kind of scenic places makes you suspicious. Can any architecture be genuinely presented as 'gold' at such sites? Alas, architecture as a camouflaged sofa for watching nature has never been an interesting path. From this, an attempt to dispel some of the myths blurring the interaction of landscape and architecture seem appropriate. Sometimes man-vs-nature (problem solving). Sometimes man-in-nature (problem making.)

Hustadvika toolshed – Photos Rever og Drage