Snøhetta in Ohio - Wolfe Center for the Arts | The Plan
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Snøhetta in Ohio - Wolfe Center for the Arts

Snøhetta

Snøhetta in Ohio - Wolfe Center for the Arts
By Raymund Ryan -

The role of landscape architecture has in recent years been reassessed and greatly expanded. Today critical attention is being paid to the spaces between buildings, to ecologically savvy planting on the top of buildings, and to the resuscitation of post-industrial tracts on several continents. For over two decades, however, Snøhetta has integrated architecture and landscape in even more fundamental ways. Based in Oslo and, more recently, New York these designers seem to regard buildings not as something surrounded by or adorned by landscape but as landscape agents, as robust semi-natural elements in themselves. Snøhetta sprang to international acclaim with their competition-winning proposal to rebuild the famed Alexandria Library, a project inaugurated in 2002. In Egypt, next to the Mediterranean corniche, the terraced floor plates of the interior are sheltered by the library’s iconic roof, a giant tilted disk. Closer to home, literally rising from the Oslo Fjord, Norway’s new Opera House is similarly a composition of monolithic masses and topographic planes. Completed in 2008, the opera is no abstract object idealized in isolation but an urban magnet, a catalyst of regeneration that encourages the public to gather, linger and explore. Now Snøhetta has completed the first of several projects in the United States. Realized together with associate practice The Collaborative Inc., The Wolfe Center for the Arts rises from the flat terrain of northwest Ohio as a canted plinth topped by a ribbed fly tower. The new facility addresses the surrounding campus of Bowling Green State University by sloping up from the east, where the planted roof surface is accessible from adjacent dormitories, and cantilevering out to the west where it shelters a generous entry porch. The soffit of this porch is inlaid with flush light fittings, a kind of geometric ornament with echoes throughout the building. The main body of the Wolfe Center is angled in relation to the dominant campus grid....

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