Landscape and public space: Snøhetta's point of view
A talk with Patrick Lüth by Sara Stojkanovic
The field of architecture is at a pivotal moment when forms of spatialization are explicitly temporal, expanding to confront complex societal challenges that require robust and adaptive responses. In the realm of innovation, we delve into the ethos of Snøhetta’s architectural language which puts a man in front of his most basic problem: to cross the threshold and holistically regain the lost space.
In this unfolding dialogue, the overarching themes are deeply rooted in the environmental and social integration of design. The wedding of these ideas with the managerial prowess of inter-dependencies provides powerful tools for people to impose a new order and ownership within architectural space. As the public environment is based on gathering, they inherently offer numerous possibilities of identification, allowing architecture to unfold as a lived experience.
The Oslo Opera House stands as the epitome of Snøhetta’s deference to common spaces and landscapes. The cultural landmark’s transformative legacy in societal dynamics has of late evoked extensive curiosity in urban implications and public engagement. It stands as an exemplary case study in leveraging pathways, integrating the roof into the movement of pedestrians in the city. This intentional alignment showcases a positive subordination of architecture to human practical and psychological needs. Such an approach left significant traces in the architectural discourse.
Opera house in Oslo introduced the paradigm shift in what a cultural building can do for a society. This is a pretty strong approach we can leave behind. Not every project can have such a position to leave positive impact on how architecture and design can work in relation to society and it is one goal we strive for.
Landscape-related interventions demand a nuanced equilibrium, a responsible occupation of space unfolded by the genius loci. Snøhetta’s distinction lies in their exceptional landscape-driven projects, each a snapshot of particular approach. These projects are constructed upon a delicate system of cooperative management, sustaining an equally fragile infrastructure of local craftmanship, culture and the surrounding environment.
The architectural form transforms from mere structure into a vessel, transcending addition to become a mechanism that influences and directs. Materiality, haptics and acoustics emerge as integral elements, resonating with occupants in a multisensory encounter where architecture is not confined to the visual realm. In this exploration, we uncover some of key architectural philosophies of the company, where each project becomes a testament to the cultural-ecological tapestry it emerges from.
We understand that putting architecture into landscape also acts as a sort of funnelling effect. [For example] You get people to a certain location and save other areas in the landscape from pollution. In general, we strive for environmental and social sustainability in all our projects and we have different methodologies to apply so. It is one of our core values.