Snøhetta is a mountain in Norway – and it is Scandinavia’s most renowned architecture firm. Starting 18 June, Snøhetta will open an office at the Danish Architecture Centre with the exhibition ‘World Architecture Snøhetta’. Most people are familiar with the Opera House in Oslo, but Snøhetta is worth getting to know for many other reasons. The exhibition is an opportunity to meet the talented people, see the crazy projects and experience the alternative thinking that have gained the Norwegian architecture firm worldwide fame and acclaim.
They won everyone’s hearts with the Opera House in Oslo and since then, Snøhetta has been one of most prominent architecture firms. But what is it that sets them apart from other architects? According to Snøhetta themselves, the difference is that they often find their inspiration in the landscape and emphasise social aspects. But how is this transformed into beautiful and innovative architecture? At the exhibition ‘World Architecture Snøhetta’ at the Danish Architecture Centre, visitors can venture into their workspace and experience the creative processes and the people who conceive the projects.
“The background for this exhibition is quite simple: Snøhetta is one of the best architecture firms in the world right now. We witness this in their incredible architecture and in the special energy and atmosphere that characterise their office. We are therefore very excited to invite visitors into Snøhetta’s world for a rather intimate encounter with the people and the unique, human, generous, inclusive approach that results in such fantastic work. We hope that visitors will become part of the ‘office’, ask Snøhetta questions and offer ideas and input.”
Martin Winther, Head of Communication, Danish Architecture Centre
Step into Snøhetta’s Copenhagen office
In the exhibition ‘World Architecture Snøhetta’, visitors have the opportunity to step into Snøhetta’s office – their workshop and universe. Who are they? How do they work? What projects have they created? And what kind of architecture firm is responsible for both the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York and Norway’s new banknotes?
Just like their office in Oslo, the exhibition is characterised by the Norwegian landscape, by Snøhetta’s connection to art and culture and by their particular love for craftsmanship traditions as well as the new material possibilities brought about by modern technology. The core of the exhibition is a sensory workshop where visitors can touch, smell, see and hear how the many projects develop from concept to concrete work. In photos and films, visitors are met by the Snøhettas who guide, involve and explain. As something entirely unique, visitors will have the opportunity to step into a virtual model and experience what architects are capable of without the help of technology – namely seeing the physical space on its own.
“Architecture and design are in general exhibited by different means of representation. Our immediate and intimate experiences of buildings, landscapes and spaces may only become tangible when all our senses are at work. This, most likely, can only happen in a direct dialogue between us and reality. Together with the Danish Architecture Centre we believe to have found a concept that reveals the dependencies of two vital ingredients to the act of creation, people and processes, which inevitably lead to a result, our projects. We are proud to present the relationships between people, processes and our projects in an exhibition format.”
Born in a bar
Snøhetta was formed in the 1980s when a group of building and landscape architects came together to form a community that could unite their disciplines and form a connection between buildings and landscape. From the very beginning, Snøhetta was based on the collective – meaning that unlike many other architecture firms, it is not named after the founder, but instead inspired by the company’s original location. The office was located above a bar called ‘Dovrehallen’ and since Dovre is a mountain range in Norway where the highest peak is Snøhetta, the choice was obvious.
In addition to the Opera House in Oslo, Snøhetta has also designed the library in Alexandria, Tverrfjellhytta in Norway and the World Trade Center Memorial, New York. They are currently working on the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (SFMOMA) and Ordrupgaard Museum north of Copenhagen, which is their first project in Denmark.
The exhibition is developed by the Danish Architecture Centre in collaboration with Snøhetta.
The exhibition is supported by Realdania and Kvadrat.