Inaugurated by the lecture “Nature as the Client”
by Kjetil Trædal Thorsendel, co-founder of the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta,
is an exhibition about contemporary architecture in vulnerable landscapes investigating the impact new creations could have on these extreme geographic climatic environments. Conceived and designed by Snøhetta, (installation in PoliMi by Matteo Ruta and Filippo Orsini) the exhibition is shown at the School of Architecture of the Politecnico Milano from June 7 to July 27.
The exhibition presents pioneering projects by the internationally renowned architecture and design firm Snøhetta, including the concept design for the energy-efficient Hotel Svart in Svartisen, the Arctic World Archive Visitor Center in Svalbard Island or the Path of Perspectives in Innsbruck. These buildings and interventions illustrate that architecture can make a significant contribution to a more sustainable use of nature with innovative strategies and solutions – in dialogue with landscape. It might seem out of order to focus on architectural interventions in less populated areas, as the biggest future challenges for planners and architects are to be found in our cities and urban areas. Snøhetta does, however, foresee more and more human pressure on areas outside of our cities.
Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner of Snøhetta, says: “To many, the periphery has become the new centre of interest and nature has become a carrier of meaningfulness. However, as contradictory as this might seem, some remote areas are becoming especially attractive to the ever-increasing desire of people to be part of something authentic. To secure the diverse sustainability offered in these places also in the future, it will in many cases be correct to do nothing. For the places already under pressure, it will be vital to provide facilities preventing further destruction. We acknowledge the fact that every new construction changes the existing condition of a place. With the passion to create, our imagination lets us involve the stories told by nature, translating these stories into architectural form and language”.
Arctic Nordic Alpine not only includes 20 outstanding architecture and design projects by Snøhetta – some realised, some planned. In addition, Snøhetta invited students to participate with their projects and included eight designs by students from the University of Stuttgart, the University of Innsbruck, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design and the Oslo Student Initiative 120 Hours.
The exhibition consists of a large-scale installation made of printed textiles, spectacular models and a video installation provide an inspiring experience for the visitors. A work in itself, it is designed to travel, to be reused and to be reexperienced in different formats. It was already shown at the Aedes Architecture Gallery, Berlin in 2020 and at the Jaroslav Fragner Gallery Prague in 2021.
For more than 30 years, Snøhetta has designed some of the world’s most notable public and cultural projects. Snøhetta kick-started its career in 1989 with the competition-winning entry for the new library of Alexandria, Egypt. This was later followed by the commission for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center in New York City, among many others.
Since its inception, the practice has maintained its original transdisciplinary approach, and integrates architectural, landscape, interior, product, graphic, digital design and art across its projects. The collaborative nature between Snøhetta’s different disciplines is an essential driving force of the practice.
The practice has a global presence, with offices spanning from Oslo, Paris, and Innsbruck, to New York, Hong Kong, Adelaide and San Francisco.
Lecture by Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding partner Snøhetta “Nature as the Client”
An opportunity to meet the archistar Kjetil Trædal Thorsen on the occasion of the inauguration of Arctic-Nordic-Alpine conceived and created by Snøhetta (installation in PoliMi by Matteo Ruta and Filippo Orsini), is an exhibition about contemporary architecture in vulnerable landscapes investigating the impact new creations could have on these extreme geographic climatic environments.
Kjetil Trædal Thorsen
Was born in Haugesund, Norway, and in 1985 he graduated as Dipl. Ing. Architect from the University of Graz, Austria. The same year he was a co-founder of the first Norwegian gallery for architecture, Gallery ROM.
In 1989 he co-founded the multidisciplinary architectural practice, Snøhetta, which now counts the disciplines architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture, product design and graphic design. Since the creation of Snøhetta, Kjetil has been instrumental in the projects developed by the practice such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt; the New National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Norway; The SFMOMA in San Francisco; the National September 11 Memorial Pavilion in NY; the Lascaux IV Caves in France; the Busan Opera house in Busan; Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant in Lindesnes, Norway; Shanghai Grand Opera House in Shanghai, China and Le Monde Group Headquarters in Paris.
He is a frequent lecturer internationally, and from 2004 to 2008 he was professor of architecture at the Institute of Experimental Architecture at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
As founding partner, Kjetil has been instrumental in defining and developing Snøhetta’s philosophy and architectural ambition. Many of the projects created by Snøhetta has been inspired or led by Kjetil.