Snøhetta wins yet another great award. Now, The Wall Street Journal tells their story and shows pictures of future projects.
The Oslo-based architecture and design firm Snøhetta is Norway’s most successful of its kind, with buildings such as The Oslo Opera House, The Petter Dass Museum in Alstahaug and Viewpoint Snøhetta on their resume.
Internationally, they are renowned for their work with the new library in Alexandria, Egypt, The National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, as well as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Last weekend, the Snøhetta office got to put yet another award in their prize cabinet. This time, they were awarded Architecture Innovator of the Year by the global newspaper The Wall Street Journal.
Artist and musician Laurie Anderson handed out the award to Snøhetta’s founding partners Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, and they were in good company. Other winners included The Weeknd (music), Melinda Gates (philanthropy) and Tom Ford (film).
Along with the award, WSJ spent six pages in their November Innovators issue telling the firm’s story. They also made this video for the web edition:
One of the many interesting things about the company is their unwillingness to state an “ultimate design theory” in their body of work. They prefer to be unpredictable and adapt their projects to the different contexts of societies, nature and people.
“If you don’t use architecture for human development, why would you do architecture?” founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen asks in the video above.
According to Thorsen, architecture must be used to serve the communities, rather than just servicing architecture or design alone.
One example of this approach may be the Oslo Opera House. A beautiful building, by all means, but far from being as majestic and flashy as opera buildings in a few other countries.
Instead, the building is functional and including, inspiring people to take use of it. One is for instance encouraged to walk or sunbathe on the roof. Today, Snøhetta has grown to be an international firm with offices in Oslo, Innsbruck, San Francisco and New York. In The Big Apple, the firm is now commissioned to redesign the iconic Times Square, which should be finished during the year.
In Norway, one is especially enthusiastic about the upcoming luxury hotel Lofoten Opera, due to open in 2020 (see top image).
“This is something we really welcome in the Lofoten Islands. The hotel will be a leg to stand on, and something easily associated with Lofoten: The best place for the best experiences”, Elisabeth Dreyer, marketing director of Destination Lofoten, says to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.
PS: Do you know how Snøhetta got their name? The firm’s first office in Oslo was located right above a pub called “Dovrehallen”, which means “Dovre’s Hall”. Dovre is a mountain area in Norway where Snøhetta is one of the highest peaks.
Oslo is rapidly growing into an exciting, international metropolis, while in the countryside, prestigious projects seem to grow out of nature itself. There has never been a more exciting time for Norwegian architecture.
This video from Dovrefjell captures the dramatic nature surrounding Viewpoint Snøhetta and the building's unique design.