Glacier crack, by Snøhetta

Snohetta - Offices, Oslo, Norway (Copyright Snohetta)
Snohetta - Offices, Oslo, Norway (Copyright Snohetta) (click-2-enlarge)

For the waterfront of Oslo, Snøhetta has designed a building that echoes a glacier with a crack. It almost becomes too simple: Snøhetta is a reference to the Snøhetta-mountain in Norway, which has a glacier. With cracks, presumably. Like a Self-fulfilling prophecy Snøhetta is now building its Snøhetta’s.

The cracked glacier houses offices, most probably occupied by Price Waterhouse Coopers, and is located near the Opera House by Snøhetta, which also looks like… it could have been designed by the Danish BIG, except that it is white. No, again it looks like a mountain, which BIG also likes to design. A Scandinavian fashion?
About the project of Snøhetta not much else is known than an article in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. As far as I can decipher the Norwegian, it seems that municipal approval is (almost) in, and the building could be finished by the summer of 2010.

About the iconography I must add that a reference to a glacier or iceberg can be very virtuous: They have beautiful seemingly random forms and reliefs, and there is always the possibility for sudden transparencies in the frozen water. Which in architecture can be related to glass, or other transparent materials.

The idea of the ‘crack’ that is meant to create a diagonal transparency through the building is obviously very cool and deconstructive. But the flirtation with collapse has something puzzling to it, I think. But it is also a cheap criticism.

I hope the architects realize the façade as they suggest in the rendering. They should develop a new kind of white-looking glass (instead of the dark gray-green look), and add to half the panels a real ‘glacier’-like relief. It then could be actually brilliant.

Glacier Crack (Photograph: tiswango / Flickr)
Glacier crack (Photograph: tiswango / Flickr) (click-2-enlarge)

A thank you to Tron Ove Wisløff for the link and information.

Related ice: Icitecture, by Don Briggs

The project is added to the Architects and Representation pages

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