Interviewed in Oslo 17 December 2010
The practice Jarmund / Vigsnæs focuses on projects with potential for outstanding and meaningful architecture, most often closely related to nature and preferably in strong natural settings with a harsh climate. The practice explores modern possibilities with sensual and tactile means, seeking the right character for the place and purpose. Clear and understandable strategies attempt results that are both self-evident and sensational. Larger projects result most commonly from competition-winning schemes, smaller from the reputation of former clients and structures.
ORIS: If we take a brief look at your biographies, all three of you studied at the Oslo School of Architecture. Håkon spent a year at the AA and also worked with Sverre Fehn. Alessandra Kosberg was your student who joined you in 1997 and soon became a partner in the office that you and Håkon established. You took your Master’s Degree at the University of Washington. How would you describe those formative years?
Jarmund: I graduated in 1987 in Oslo. Later I went to Seattle, and it was quite OK to get away, especially in the late 1980s when it was a gloomy time in Oslo. Being in the US was a good experience, spending almost four years on the West Coast, before the world discovered Seattle. It was also quite fun to be there in the early ‘Grunge’ period. I valued the ordinariness of Seattle quite a lot.
Håkon went to the AA in London, where he had Peter Salter for a teacher. Salter wrote a little book that the AA published in the late 1980s called Intuition and Processes. It has been an important part of the discussion that we’ve had.