update 30/08/2018: oslo officials recently announced that they will support a proposal to reject melgaard and snnøhetta’s plans for the U.F.O-like home, prioritizing the locals’ requests and needs. according to the new york times, the oslo city council will hold a final vote next wednesday, however, already many municipal lawmakers from several parties stated that they will back the plan for the site to ‘remain a green area’.

 

(this article was originally published on august 2nd 2018). since 2011, norwegian artist bjarne melgaard and architecture practice snøhetta have exchange drawings, models and documents working towards the realization of the artist’s private residence where he will live and work. resulting from snøhetta’s interpretation of melgaard’s two-dimensional and analogue drawings, the renderings of the project—called until now ‘a house to die in’—showcase a U.F.O-shaped black crystalline structure suspended on columns that resemble animal-like creatures. and although the design process has been quite fluid, the journey towards realizing the project has been anything but predictable.

the building is clad with black, burned oak, inspired by japanese building traditions
all images courtesy of snøhetta and bjarne melgaard

 

 

located in the western part of oslo, on an area called ‘kikkut’, the site neighbors ‘ekely’, edvard munch’s (remember ‘the scream’?) winter atelier and residential villa demolished in 1960. and here is where the problem begins, where you understand that this unconventional building has challenged the traditional perception of the boundaries of art and architecture. after all, it is a statement on artistic freedom and architectural innovation that has questioned public administration and the voice of the people. why? because many disagree with it, starting with its location.

snohetta a house to die bjarne melgaard norway designboom

 

 

so, how far should norwegian authorities go to protect the legacy of munch? lead by an artist’s colony established in the 1950s, the opposition of the project states that the site is where munch lived and worked for 30 years and that they want to keep what’s left of him. norwegians also state that munch is part of their cultural history and identity and that everyone there is influenced by him—consciously or unconsciously—on different levels.

snohetta a house to die bjarne melgaard norway designboom

 

 

the final verdict will be given in the next coming weeks, and if approved, it will still need to go to the building authority and to the city council for final permission. ‘we have to recognize that it’s an emotional debate,’ said kjetil traedal thorsten, snøhetta’s founding partner to the new york times. ‘if there weren’t any emotional points of view connected to this, then it would have meant most of the norwegian population would have been ignorant of it.’

snohetta a house to die bjarne melgaard norway designboom
the snohetta a house to die in project started in 2011 and features animal-like columns 

snohetta a house to die bjarne melgaard norway designboom

snohetta a house to die bjarne melgaard norway designboom

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