Snøhetta

Snøhetta

Architectural Landscapes

The Alexandria Library, the Opera in Oslo and the Memorial Pavilion at Ground Zero in New York - even if you don't know the name Snøhetta, you’ll know its buildings. Meet one of the heads behind - Norwegian architect Kjetil T. Thorsen.

Snøhetta is named after a famous mountain in Norway. From the very beginning in the 1980's, Snøhetta's architecture has been inspired by landscapes, both natural and urban. ”Landscapes are a massive force”, says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, co-founder and director of Snøhetta: "And they are masterpieces, which architects can be inspired by."

Divided into five chapters based around subjects such as philosophy, working within different cultures as well as architectural responsibilities, the film is a 30 minute tour through the inner and outer landscapes of Snøhetta. Moreover, Thorsen reflects upon some of Snøhetta's major landmarks such as the Alexandria Library, the opera house in Oslo and The 9/11 Memorial Pavilion on Ground Zero in New York.

For Snøhetta there is a strong relationship between architecture and the surrounding society. Thorsen himself is convinced that architecture and landscapes affect human behaviour. Snøhetta's philosophy is deeply rooted in the values of the Nordic welfare state such as transparency, social sustainability, equality, availability and humanism. Through architecture these values can be exported into different societies, thus building bridges between cultures. As an example Thorsen mentions the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Saudia Arabia, where Snøhetta has avoided separate entrances for men and women.

Finally, Thorsen gives us an insight into the architectural process and the necessity of compromises. Especially with buildings like the 9/11-Memorial at Ground Zero in New York, the interests of different stakeholders have to be respected - not the least the victims and their families. "The effect of the compromise sometimes is a new beginning”, Thorsen states. In the end though, every project has to be within the borders of integrity. "There are things that you just don't trade!"

Projects featured in the video:

Eggum Tourist Route, Norway, 2007.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei, 2011.

Annecy Conference Center, France, in progress.

Norweigan Wild Reindeer Cene pavillion, Norway 2011

King Abdulazis Center for World Culture, Saudi Arabia, in progress

New Norweigan National Opera and Ballet, Norway 2008

Lascaux Caves, France 2012

Alexandria Library, Egypt, 2001

National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavillion, USA 2011

Sultanate of Oman, Mutrah Fish Market, in progress

Ras al-Khaimah-Gateway Project, United Aab Emirates, in progress

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at Snøhetta, Oslo.

Camera: Elmer Laahne
Edited by: Rasmus Nyholm Schmidt
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Beate Grimsrud

    Who You Are

    A common thread in Beate Grimsrud’s novels is her portrayal of offbeat characters. Find out how the Norwegian writer wishes to broaden the spectrum for normality by becoming “a ladder” for all voices: “I suppose my aim is to include the outsiders.”

  • Sambuichi

    Why Hiroshima Became Green Again

    Hiroshi Sambuichi – one of the leading green architects of our time – here reflects on his hometown Hiroshima and how “the power of nature” helped the landscape to restore so rapidly following the atomic bombings during World War II.

  • Michael Kvium

    Circus Europe

    “It’s a constant pleasure for me that I can get people so worked up.” Join us for a studio visit with painter Michael Kvium, particularly known for his characteristic figurative imagery. He here talks about addressing contemporary issues through his art.

  • Chris Kraus

    Changing Lives

    Experience American writer Chris Kraus, author of the iconic feminist novel ‘I Love Dick’, in this passionate talk about the apolitical art scene and the challenges of being a woman in our contemporary consumer-focused world.

  • Laurie Anderson

    A Virtual Reality of Stories

    In this exclusive video, Laurie Anderson presents her prizewinning virtual reality work from 2017: “I wanted to see what it would be like to travel through stories, to make the viewer feel free,” the legendary multimedia artist says.

  • Paul Auster

    Unhappy Unrest

    Paul Auster is one of the USA’s most important contemporary writers. In this short video, he speaks his mind about the growing right-wing and Donald Trump: “I think he’s the most dangerous being that has ever existed in public office in the United States.”

  • Mika Rottenberg

    Social Surrealism

    She finds her odd “bigger than life characters” on the internet. In her peculiar, dreamlike video works they use their bodies as means of production creating what the artist calls “a spiritual kind of Marxism.” Meet the incomparable Mika Rottenberg!

  • Peter Land

    Man Falling

    Meet an artist who uncompromisingly uses himself in his art. Inspired by his own fears and anxieties Peter Land makes disturbingly humorous work, but it was moral qualms that were behind his groundbreaking video of himself dancing naked.

  • Mika Rottenberg

    Girl Power From Another Century

    Meet the truly original video artist Mika Rottenberg! Here she shares the fascinating story behind her take on Orwell's 'Animal Farm' – a work in which a group of women with extremely long hair turn things around – and take fate into their own hands.

  • Vigdis Hjorth

    I am not a Pretty Postcard

    “Writing is the relationship between head, gut and hand.” Vigdis Hjorth is considered one of the strongest voices in contemporary Norwegian literature. She here shares why it is essential for her well-being to be able to express herself in writing.

  • Yona Friedman

    Architecture of Trial and Error

    “Don't forget that very important cities today started by immigration.” Meet the 94-year-old architect behind 'L’Architecture Mobile', Yona Friedman. He here shares the story of how his years as a refugee sparked his desire to make architecture adaptable.