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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Norway's Snohetta creates visions of things to come

Oslo Opera House, by Snohetta

Snøhetta (Norwegian: Snøhetta arkitektur landskap AS) is an international architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design office based in Oslo, Norway and New York City. Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen are the two principals of the company. In addition there are four partners, architect Robert Greenwood, architect Ole Gustavsen, architect Tarald Lundevall, and landscape architect Jenny Osuldsen. Gustavsen fulfills the role of Managing Director for the company. In 2010, Snøhetta has approximately 120 designers working on projects in Europe, Asia and America.

In 2004, the company received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the Library of Alexandria:

Architectural studio Snohetta a major European and global player

In 1987 the landscape architects Inge Dahlman, Berit Hartveit and Johan Østengen contacted landscape architects Alf Haukeland, and architects Øyvind Mo and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen to join together to make a collaborative studio. The idea was to incorporate architecture and landscape architecture into one design process. The studio was placed above a “brown” beer hall in Storgata in Oslo where they used to hang out. The beer hall is called "Dovrehallen" which means the "Dovre’s Hall". Dovre is the mountain area where Snøhetta is the highest peak. The collaborative took the name Snøhetta arkitektur landskap.

Early in 1989 an unusual convergence of events occurred. Kjetil Thorsen in Norway and Craig Dykers in Los Angeles had independently discussed working on the Egyptian Library of Alexandria Competition together with their mutual friend and colleague Christoph Kapeller from Austria, who was now living in Los Angeles. By the summer of 1989 Snøhetta registered for participation in the design competition. At that time Craig had established his own small practice focused on collaboration amongst architects and artists in Los Angeles and had considered carrying out the competition design with another group. However, after further discussion, this group then agreed they would work on the competition together as a team. On a trip to Mexico from Oslo Kjetil arranged for a rented apartment in Los Angeles and later the team helped set up the space together for use during the competition.

In the late summer of 1989 the team completed its self-made composition and a larger group of people came together to complete the competition in Los Angeles. The full team included from Norway the architect Øyvind Mo of Snøhetta and his friend Per Morten Josefson, along with Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, and from Los Angeles the team included architects Craig Dykers and Christoph Kapeller. In addition the architect Elaine Molinar from LA joined the team to assist in the work. The team also worked with the artist Jorunn Sannes from Norway who took on the task of the expression of the outer stone wall. The team also included the art historian Cordula Mohr to help with the text describing the project. Within a period of five weeks in the apartment, the group completed and delivered the competition, and won.

Toward the end of 1989 the Alexandria team and the team in Oslo, at this time also including the architect Martin Roubik, joined together in Oslo and the entire group moved into the office space above Dovrehallen. This group then agreed to form a new shareholding company called Snøhetta arkitektur landskap AS with eight equal partners based upon the diverse backgrounds of all of those participating in the design work.

King Abdullah Center for Dialogie - Architect: Snohetta

During the period from 1989 to 2006 the company has undergone many changes including changes in the basic structure leading to the arrangement in 2006 of two principals and four partners. The basic notion of diverse backgrounds and cultures remains a key feature of the practice. Snøhetta’s Scandinavian and Norwegian heritage provide Snøhetta with a unique understanding that promotes social and environmental consciousness and during the first years of the 21st Century the practice continues to develop its understanding of context and the conditions within which its ideas are considered.

Gateway to Ras Al Khaiamah in United Arab Emirates

NYC architecture: Snøhetta Selected to Design A New Car-Free Times Square

Snøhetta Chosen To Design Garden-based Museum in Guadalajara, Mexico

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