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Knut Hamsun Center

Steven Holl Architects

Europa | Hamarøy

On August 4th 2009, Norway celebrated the 150th birthday of Knut Hamsun with the inauguration of the Knut Hamsun Center in his home town of Hamarøy, north of the Arctic Circle not far from Lofoten. Designed by Steven Holl nearly 15 years ago, this tower clad in dark stained wood was the subject of intense public debate in the wake of half a century of troubled relations with a writer of great artistic talent but with controversial political views: Hamsun was a racist and convinced sympathizer with the Nazi cause. Ever since Plato called for the poets of the Republic to be banished if they failed to condone its political system, the West has been acutely aware of the terrible conflict between love for the works of a great poet with obnoxious political views. Ernst Junger and Ezra Pound are among the outstanding writers of the last century who, in completely different circumstances, are...

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