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'A House to Die In' Creates Norwegian Controversy

Friday, February 9, 2018

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A behind-the-scenes look at a controversial building proposal in Norway was recently put on display as plans for the project face an uphill battle to approval.

Architecture firm Snøhetta and Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard have been collaborating for nearly a decade on “A House to Die In,” and that collaborative process is now on display in Oslo, Norway, organized by the Selvaag Art Collection.

The Display

The exhibition aims to show the artistic process behind designing a unique home and studio that is currently seeking construction approval.

“In collaboration with Selvaag Art Collection we want to tell a different story of how a building comes about,” said founding partner of Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.

“It is an exhibition about plunging into documents, models and drawings to understand the scope of an immensely interesting transdisciplinary collaboration that, in many ways, reflects our inner values as a firm.”

The exhibition details the process of how Melgaard would turn over drawings to the architects who would them transform them into digital models.

The House

The house—also seen as a sculpture—will be made of charred wood, inspired by the Japanese practice of Shou Sugi Ban, and shaped with a series of triangles. The home will sit atop pillars shaped like woodland creatures. The New York Times has likened the design to a UFO.

Plans for the interior include movable walls and rooms that uncommonly merge different areas of a house, such as a dining area and swimming pool.

The house, should it get approved, is set to be located near famed Norwegian painter Edvard Munch’s former house and workshop. Debate has raged over how the structure would impact the artist’s legacy, since the very environment is what inspired much of his art.

However, Snøhetta and the design team argue that the concerns about the environment are unfounded, because the house is slated for a plot of land where a building once stood.

The Directorate for Cultural Heritage should give its approval verdict in the coming weeks. If the project gets the green light it will then go to a building authority, followed by city council.


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Design; Design build

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