Architecture Monday

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I first heard of Snøhetta from the firm’s founder, at a lecture in SF. It was an amazing talk, not only for the work they produced, starting by winning as a brand new firm the competition for the new global library in Alexandria, but for his words of wisdom on process and on collaboration. It’s a big buzz word now, of course, but he spoke about it with such authenticity and commitment to it in ways that even today I not often hear.

The project above, the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin, is a full illustration of this. Take a close look at the front of the building – that is a single 14m by 5m (46′ x 16.5′) slab of granite, cut, transported from Norway and erected as a single slab. Many people said it was impossible, or would cost too much. They spoke to the people at the quarry. They now have a very solid front to a wedge shaped building on a narrow site that announces itself without fanfare and is a great tie and allegory to the people of Norway.

A simple project on a constrained site, elevated by good design.