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Snøhetta: architecture and landscaping from Norway to the rest of the world

Scheduled for Thursday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m., the next episode of The Architects Series is dedicated to Snøhetta and will be followed by a lecture by Kjetil Trædal Thorsen


The Architects Series-Snøhetta
By Editorial Staff -
Iris Ceramica Group has participated in the project

There’s just a few days to go until the release of the next episode of The Architects Series, scheduled for Thursday, November 10, and focusing on international architecture studio Snøhetta. Established in 1989 in Oslo as a collaborative architectural and landscape workshop, nowadays Snøhetta designs some of the most important public and cultural buildings in the world, while remaining true to the same transdisciplinary approach that defined it from the beginning.

This documentary on Snøhetta is the 26th instalment of The Architects Series, an event organized by THE PLAN for Iris Ceramica Group. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 10, the webinar will stream live from Iris Ceramica Group’s Milan flagship store. The screening of the documentary will be followed by a lecture on the studio’s design approach by Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, co-founder with Craig Edward Dykers and Christoph Kapeller. Register for the event on the Iris Ceramica Group website.

Snøhetta’s approach to its work is based on a commitment to social and environmental sustainability, harnessing both traditional skills and avant-garde digital technology, while always maintaining a strong link between architecture and the identity of its setting. Snøhetta is named after the highest peak in the Dovrefjell mountain range in the Scandinavian Alps. The documentary focuses on five projects: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Oslo Opera House, Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim, the Time Square regeneration project, and the redevelopment of the former Aria abattoir in Milan.


The beginnings of Snøhetta: Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Bibliotheca Alexandrina © Gerald Zugmann, courtesy of Snøhetta

One of the studio’s earliest projects, Bibliotheca Alexandrina is circular and completely covered in gray granite slabs engraved with letters from ancient and modern alphabets. The structure, inclined at an angle of 160 degrees towards the sea, occupies the same site as the ancient, and now destroyed, Egyptian library, of which it is intended to act as heir in the custody of its knowledge. In addition to the library, which can hold up to four thousand books, the complex includes several other spaces, including a planetarium, a number of museums, conservation facilities, and a large reading room.


The world awaits: Oslo Opera House

Norwegian National Opera and Ballet © Thomas Harrison, courtesy of Snøhetta

The Oslo Opera House, home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, is located in the former port area of the Bjøzvikasi Peninsula at the head of Oslofjord. The project, which won an international design competition in the early 2000s, was conceived as the seed for the redevelopment of the local area. The design features large windows and a sloping roof covered in white Carrara marble, which visitors can walk on, that connects the plaza to the upper floor. Inside, there are two auditoriums, the foyer, various other areas, and several public spaces.


Powerhouse Brattørkaia: a project dedicated to sustainability

Powerhouse Brattørkaia © Ivar Kvaal, courtesy of Snøhetta

A more recent project is Powerhouse Brattørkaia, an office building located on the Trondheim Fjord at 63° north of the equator. With over 32,000 sq.ft. (3000 m2) of photovoltaic panels integrated into the façade and the sloping pentagonal roof, the structure produces more energy than it will consume during its entire life cycle, and therefore also powers nearby buildings and public transport. The project, which has obtained BREEAM Outstanding certification, is a testament to the need to design positive energy buildings.


Time Square regeneration project

Time Square regeneration project © Michael Grimm, courtesy of Snøhetta

The Time Square urban regeneration project consists of the pedestrianization of an area of around 110,000 sq.ft. (10,000 m2) at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue in the heart of Manhattan. The project is intended to improve the road safety and air quality, as well as the economic performance, of one of the most iconic places in the Big Apple. The new pavements are pre-cast concrete with two different finishes. Some of the slabs have steel discs embedded into them to reflect the lights of the famous advertising signs that form the backdrop to the New York square.


Work in progress: former Aria abattoir

Aria - ex macello Rendering by Wolf Visualizing Architecture, courtesy of Snøhetta

Aria is the name of a project to redevelop a former abattoir in Milan. The work of Snøhetta as lead architects, together with Barreca & La Varra, Cino Zucchi, Stantec, and Chapman Taylor, the project won the second edition of the international C40 Reinventing Cities competition. Envisaged as a young neighborhood and a new urban hub, Aria will be both Milan’s first carbon-negative district and the most significant social housing project in Europe. The project masterplan includes student accommodation with 600 beds and a small number of detached houses, as well as spaces for a range of different functions, including the new headquarters of the European Institute of Design, the POD (Point of Disclosure) Science & Art District, a medical center, a nursery school, a playroom, coworking spaces, offices, and shops.


>>> The documentary on Snøhetta is the 26th episode of The Architect Series. You can view previous episodes here


Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the photo credits

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