Architects Should be Somewath Playful, Somewath Illogical

architect Tarald Lundevall / Snøhetta
interviewed by Saša Bradić, Vera Grimmer

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Interviewed in Oslo June 23rd 2009


Not later than 1989, a group of young Norwegian architects under the geographic name Snøhetta (a mountain in central Norway), entered the global architectural scene through the front door. Namely, their project was selected from among 526 projects in an international competition for the Alexandria Library. The result was a contextual, iconic structure, which was in fact a part of the cityscape, just as the new Oslo Opera is, built 20 years later. This speaks for the continuity of a concept of a practice whose work is based on an open, democratic approach to design processes. In all their projects that can be found from Arabia to secluded places in the Norwegian mountains, Snøhetta is trying to unite the contextuality that concerns both physical and intellectual context with sustainability, economy, technology and construction innovations.


ORIS: In the name of your office beside the word ‘arkitektur’ there was also the word ‘landskap’. The two most important Snøhetta buildings, if we may say so, the Oslo Opera House and Alexandria Library seem to be parts of a landscape: the large, round rock of the library plunged in the sea, and on the other hand, the Opera emerging like a white mountain from the fjord. Could you comment on this devotion to natural surroundings?


SNØHETTA: We’ll start by saying that Snøhetta was founded 20 years ago. It was definitely our idea that architecture should be contextual, we were from the beginning interested in finding the right interpretation of the context in a very broad sense. In the early discussions in projects, of course, the landscapes, the physical surroundings are the most vital elements contextually, but I would also like to add that the socio-political and socio-economic context, the historical context, the ideas surrounding – all contextual matters – interest us very much. In the core thinking here, we said twenty years ago that it is absolutely necessary to develop concepts in a broad collaboration between landscape architects, architects, interior architects, artists, perhaps en­gi­neers, perhaps industrial designers – we tried to have as broad a discussion as possible. Within our office we currently have people from 17 nations, of very different ages. In all our projects we try to start the discussion as an open-hearted discussion with very different impulses, and in all projects the interior architect, landscape architect and the architect start the initial discussions together. A totally different way to answer your question could perhaps be by saying that to Scandinavian architecture, not just Norwegian architecture, important things are the landscape, the shifting light, the landscape understood as brutal and harsh surroundings, ma­king survival complicated. It’s important for us. It’s really an issue. Until recently, Norway was a country that was late in urbanization. My grandfather, was like most Norwegians so­me 120 years ago, a farmer in tough conditions. To us, the last comment on this is also that we don’t want to define a ‘Snøhetta style’ or to repeat. Because our understanding of life and physical surroundings is focused on the diversity of contexts, and this inspires us. We want each project to really sit in its contextual frame the way we interpret it. This is the reason, from a more ideological point of view, that we want this broad input. Perhaps I could stop and comment what is landscape in the Opera and what is landscape in Alexandria.


ORIS: This diversity, and the way you are always reacting to the task. This situation makes you independent of any trends.


SNØHETTA: That’s ideally; at least we hope it is that way. But of course, the international professional community these days communicates so intensely through projects. All of us travel, see a lot, read the same papers and books, meet friends and colleagues more often than we could earlier. Although we perhaps want to be completely open each time, of course, we can have a period when we are very inspired by something special. This is a kind of an ambiguous position, but ideally we hope that people meeting our architecture will feel that they really need different types of architecture.


ORIS: As we were visiting the Opera today, you said that you tried not to have a method because you tried to have a very particular approach to each project, including the context, the landscape and other important elements of the process. What kind of influences did you have? To me, it seems that these are samples of different ideas that you are dealing with, in terms of material, programme, form, atmosphere, technology, a kind of iconic architecture. Can you tell us about methods in your work?


SNØHETTA: Our method is to rely on the richness, on the diversity of ideas and competence within the office. Although I was project manager for the Opera for 8 years, and another partner was doing the same in Alexandria, none of us made all the decisions on how it is going to be built, not at all. We really give each member of the crew quite a wide frame to work within. You can’t make architecture from one man, one vote, that’s impossible. We really put a lot of emphasis on the general, basic, conceptual discussions and after that you can have individuals, very strong interior architects or landscape architects, who are really able to interpret and go further and deeper in the area they are really comfortable with within the overall frame. For instance, we wouldn’t have built the roof over the Opera if it wasn’t for one of our landscape architects who had extremely wide experience in complicated stonework. There are no methodological or intellectually written modules or procedures. It’s a procedure which is based on experience, which basically is to allow for width and that hopefully will give the building more richness. If I had taken all these issues myself and said ‘Oh stop that, let’s make it clear and precise,’ then we would have lost things.


ORIS: So the notion of authorship has no big importance in the structure of your office?


SNØHETTA: As you probably know, the notion of authorship is extremely sensitive within most architectural practices. I’ve been working for 40 years, also in other places, so I know this is sensitive. But at the same time I know the richness that comes to architecture if you open up. When we refer to projects we try to refer to Snøhetta as such, if we mention the team or the name of the team. From some time ago, we tried to simply mention everybody in alphabetical order. We also have situations like with the Opera for which we won the Mies van der Rohe Award, we also won the Aga Khan Award for Alexandria. In such cases where you have to be very precise and in other cultural contexts, we have to come up with the name of the director who followed the project closely. We try to give each and every person who has participated a share in the honour.


ORIS: We were really impressed with the visit to the Opera House. One might say that it is on its way to becoming iconic like the Opera House in Sydney Harbour, because it is in a similar situation, it is also in a harbour. But there are also big differences. The roof structure in Sydney is like a metaphor of a big sailing boat, which has relations to Australia, to its past and so on. In your Opera House, you offer the roof to the public, which is a democratic way of dealing with architecture. In fact, you can use the metaphor of social sculpture. Could you tell us something about the numerous decisions which led to this unique cityscape?


SNØHETTA: You have pro­bably taken part in architectural competitions; it tends to be a very intense period. What we do in our teams that make the competition entry is once again to really design a team that is theoretically right for the task, and second, we really try to start with a piece of white paper and decide what kind of discussions we need. We start from the very bottom, very open, and in this case, we decided to do it in a rather short time, six weeks of intense work by eight persons. We work very much with models. The basic idea of the Opera was actually developed along two lines: the idea of a flexible ‘factory’ for the 600 persons working in the building, and secondly the interpretation of a contemporary ‘monumentality’: the wide, easy accessible roofscape. I could also add a third idea: a cur­ved wall as a ‘threshold’ to the auditoriums, the rooms for ope­ra and ballet. We invited artists to take part in the discussions and we had these intense discussions in a workshop, and each of us decided what to do, go back, do further research. We had these three discussions: what is opera and ballet in Norway? What it is today and what it will be in the future, the relationship between the Norwegian public and these European art forms and all that. These discussions led to this threshold thing, about us creating a kind of step-by-step approach to a rather foreign and unusual type of work. We had this discussion, of course, but the functionality was not primarily governing. There we had the programme, but again we had this discussion about elasticity, and we were even thinking that if this project was going to win and was going to be built, there should be the possibility to change functional properties during the planning phase also. This proved very useful during the five years of drawing and detailed planning. We said to ourselves that this building might end up on some heritage list, or some people might say that nothing should change, that this is big architecture. Then it’s definitely our opinion that the ‘factory’, the workshops etc., should be flexible, to meet future needs, in an elastic way. This part of the building should therefore not be to architecturally ambitious. We also had these strong discussions about monumentality which were very fruitful. So we started with these three ideas. Of course you go back and forth, but to us the concept simply grew by itself in a way. We were very lucky, at least we thought so, that the concept grew out through the discussions and the testing, and then we had three weeks where we as architects, engineers, technically and aesthetically oriented persons, star­ted to fine-tune the concept. If you saw our competition entry sketches, you would see that they are nearly identical to that what was built. The concept proved to be very strong. A lot of changes were done with the practical matters, and a lot of articulation, but the building as an object is in a way just as we proposed it.


ORIS: The iceberg is quite amazing and beautiful, going into the sea. There is a connection to Caspar David Friedrich’s painting The Sea of Ice. It’s an amazing and democratic space like we see in the Mediterranean. Is it usually the case in Norway that common places are owned by the people, not by private persons?


SNØHETTA: Norway is a capitalistic country. Our economy is based on private ownership. Within the city, everything is privately owned. You have more or less the same situation as in Hamburg or wherever. But a huge part of the nature in Norway, I mean the forests, the enormous hilly areas and the sub-hill areas and the whole polar area of Norway, those are owned by the central government. The Norwegian mountain farmers, in order to survive, also traditionally organized their properties into what they called an allmenning, which are larger spans of areas which made it possible to actually use and exploit them in a more ecological way, because one year you have a bad situation here, then next year, the river floods over, so one hundred small farmers owned a rather large chunk of land together. They had the same share to use it. This is again regarded as a core value in Norwegian thinking. Far up north we have the Suomi population, and they insisted very early, because they have the reindeer going to and fro, so the government said, ‘Okay, let us, the government, own it, but the Suomi people can use it freely.’ Another thing that is important is that we are a coastal nation, living on fisheries, and freedom of thinking. When an individual thinks of the future and possi­bilities, they always think of the free ocean. In a very wide sense these are historically-based reasons, but there are newer, politically-based, socio-democratic reasons for this democratic ownership. Don’t make it too big or too important, but this is a core value. In southern Europe you often walk in nature and suddenly walk into a fence, with an ugly dog and a strange person owning this thing. In many places in Norway you can go six or seven hours in one direction and you won’t meet a fence for a hundred kilometres or something, because we have these common areas. This is again a value that has proved to be; I mean subconsciously, at least we hope, it seems that the Norwegians like how it’s implemented in this building. A Sunday walk on the roof of Oslo Opera is now very pleasant. It is a new, open city plaza no one controls.


ORIS: This way of freedom of choosing what we really want to do in a building, to experience it in a classical way, to go up on the building, it is something similar to the idea of Hollein’s museum in Mönchengladbach. These spaces with no specific function are very important.


SNØHETTA: That is one of the very interesting experiences here, that you really see that people are hungry for that non-commercial open agenda of space. That’s more and more seldom in urban situations in Europe. I’ve also been to Croatia and I’ve seen everywhere that this value is of great importance.


ORIS: In which art of creative process do you answer the complex task of connecting individualism and tradition, and also the needs of a welfare state as Norway, and still this poetical aspect which your works have, of course? How is it possible to put all this together?


SNØHETTA: That’s a difficult question. I think all architecture, at least in transparent, open societies like ours, depends on a professionalism which must incorporate the ability to negotiate, the ability to use connections, we can’t look away from that. You remember also Utzon in Sydney, he came with a more, should I say, old-fashioned architect’s attitude: ‘I won the competition, I have good advisors, and this is exactly what I do.’ When I speak with colleagues internationally, very different architects, I have a feeling that all of them admit that the world today expects an architect to be open and to listen, and to be a good negotiator. He also must be able to be very clear about where he or she accepts changes and where the bottom line is. Through the years in the Opera project, we had an extremely different situation from the building in Alexandria. There, we were more or less by ourselves. Every second or third month a person came from some ministry and said, ‘Yes, go on.’ This is a very simple story but still we were in a way given the possibility to do things, more or less, as we wanted to do them. But here in this country, it was totally different, with this transparency. What I’m leading to is to say that to be able to combine what Snøhetta wants to put into the project, like poetry, and combine that with what is technologically and economically possible, is a continuous challenge. You have to be professional and as I said, a very good negotiator. We were very clear about how to deal with the central politicians. We were also very clear about where our borders are. Through these eight years I know only about five situations where I had to say, ‘Okay, this is not possible.’ We believe in what we do, we are professionals, we are good negotiators, and we have a very broad backing and a clear media strategy.


ORIS:Utzon with his attitude gets into conflict.


SNØHETTA: It took the power out of his life for let’s say 20 years. It was really tragic. I can also tell you to some ex­tent that the same happened with Sverre Fehn. He built a beautiful building in Oslo in 1967 or 1968. That building got some incorrect criticism at an early stage and the journalists made a lot of stories up, and he got a lot of dirty talk that he definitely did not deserve. That was not at least the reason he said, ‘Okay, this is not a place for me here. I will try to do my best as professor at a school of architecture in Oslo.’ There, he was an extremely important person. He was my teacher in a very close relationship.


ORIS: We in Croatia appreciate Sverre Fehn very deeply. For me, personally, perhaps the strongest experience in archi­tecture was the lecture he gave at the symposium in the Slovenian town of Piran in 1989. It was much more than a lecture, it was an powerful, existential experience. Was his importance as a teacher of Norwegian architects sig­nificant?


SNØHETTA: Very significant. All the best-known Norwegian architects, names you have probably heard, have had Sverre Fehn as a teacher. He worked there for twenty years. He was a very strong and demanding teacher but also with a very soft and poetic core when he had his smiling and laughing days. He was a very important teacher as an architect too. A lot of his projects are competition projects, and haven’t been built, but they are in a way a common reference material. But you can say, just as a tiny addition, Sverre Fehn’s practice was based on a totally different philosophy than ours. He was more based in this non-compromising ‘master and assistant’ thinking. In a way, I would say that we are the most different office from him. Personally, I would say that we were, not close friends, but very friendly. We have chosen very different ways of operating.


ORIS: In your work, especially in the Opera House, a very important aspect is the participation of other artists, like Eliasson. With all the elements you did with artists like the pavement, cladding or interiors, the Opera seems to be a gesamtkunstwerk.


SNØHETTA: You could say that to so­me extent we were very lucky winning this competition. It’s once in a lifetime or once in a century. The central go­vern­ment in Norway this time decided by themselves that they would do it in a good way, so that allowed us to suggest that it is very im­portant for the quality of the building to work with artists as profound as we did. Well, they accepted that as necessary. Also, we have in Norway a governmental institution that secures public artwork possibilities for ar­tists, and we have challenged that institution to go into inter­national competitions, we have really been met with real enthusiasm from the government. We try to involve artists at a very early stage in all our projects. This time, we got more possibilities than ever, actually. There are a lot of works that you haven’t seen, there’s a special stage curtain (‘Metafoil’) made by Pae White, which is a fantastic piece of work. It is a kind of an installation that was made, more or less an artistic happening that was made when the ground foundation stone was laid by the King of Norway, which was a kind of an artistic foundation stone. Monica Bonvicini, an Austrian artist, won the competition for a sculpture that will float in the sea outside the Opera, and that was inspired by Caspar David Friedrich. In a book about the Opera I have tried, something architects seldom do, to make a kind of complete description of the whole planning and building process, and there is also a chapter about the art projects. This curtain is fantastic. It is completely flat. It was made by crushing aluminium foil and then you carefully take it up and take a digital photo of that, work a little bit with the digital file, and then put this file into one of the world’s most up-to-date digital weaving machines. The Bonvicini sculpture is due to be placed here late this autumn.


ORIS: Is there a place for symbols and narrative in your work? I think of this mysterious, big granite rock, which is from the south of Norway, weighing 120 tons and 15 metres high and millions of years old that you placed on the façade of the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin. It is a decision that is very strong and powerful.


SNØHETTA: Architects should be a bit playful, a bit illogical, and also curious about possibilities. The story about the stone in Berlin was actually that during the work in Alexandria, we had got to know a very knowledgeable man working in the stone quarries on the border between Libya and Egypt. He helped an Egyptian stone quarry firm with wire sawing. With the wire saw you can drill a hole through the mountain and pull through an enormously long rope with diamonds on it, set it together and put a little machine like on a motor bicycle, let it go and suddenly you have a very precise cut. We had just learned about that technique. You can make very precise forms and do whatever you want. We were curious about the possibilities of such techniques.


ORIS: The master plan – for all the Nordic embassy buildings – was made by Berger + Parkkinen – Vienna based architects, though Mrs Parkkinen is Finnish.


SNØHETTA: Yes, so very clear lines were given about the form of each building. The discussion in our office was mixed then. We were allowed to think about this whole articulation that could be regarded as giving the building a kind of Norwegian sensitivity. So why not combine here the possibility to really see if it is possible to take out such an enormous piece of stone, transport it and mount it. It was a kind of double thinking, curiosity and a rare opportunity to do a kind of what you would call ‘symbol’. We probably won’t do it again, but I think it functions okay. I think the toughest discussion we had was with the ambassador, because his office was planned on the corner of the building just behind the stone, so when you enter the ambassador’s office, there is a stone outside his window. We have done a lot of things based on curiosity, I will speak now about the Petter Dass Museum in northern Norway. That started at a site whe­re it is impossible to locate a museum without disturbing the beautiful historic landscape. Then we had to establish the site, and we called the same person ten years later, the one that made the thing in Berlin, and asked him whether he could go to northern Norway and make a site for us.


ORIS:Maybe we can go to another scale, from these mo­nu­mental examples of Alexandria and the Oslo Opera House, to more conceptual works like the Petter Dass Museum, Karmøy Fishing Museum or the Kivik Art Centre, which is important when you talk about landscape, little interventions in the landscape. What I like in the Kivik Centre is this framing that makes the impression of a painting which changes depending on the way you are looking, also depending on the light and the articulation of light, something that Adalberto Libera did for just one private person, for Malaparte. There are very nice views or dialogues with nature. What parallel could you make between these projects?


SNØHETTA: In a way, this is an interesting question, because they are made a very long distance in time apart. Karmøy Fishing Museum is from 1993 or 1994, that was in the beginning. The Petter Dass Museum was finalized more or less at the same time as the Opera. Totally different persons were working on it. But I think you could link them, through what I described as contextual focusing of our work in an early stage. In Karmøy, the context is fishing; it’s a fishing equipment museum. And then we start this dis­cussion again about fishing, what happens on the shore – all the women standing on the shore, looking at the sea. That’s the cheapest museum ever built in Norway per square metre. Through those discussions and debates on the context, this concept came up, as a result of emotional and intellectual discussions. This same method of width in the beginning – no chief, no master coming with a sketch, ‘I slept on it, this is how we do it,’ we don’t allow that. We really try to avoid such things. Again, the same happened with Petter Dass. He was a historic person, a priest in the 17th century, who got very close with the poor local fishermen. At the same time, he was educated in Copenhagen, a baroque poetry writer who wrote beautiful things. There again, after we had established the site, we thought about Petter Dass who did a very strange thing for his time – he really combined the local with the broader. We worked on that concept, and therefore this building has a glass façade looking down at the church, the local ‘here’, and from there the building stretches towards the ocean, ‘there’. We feel that we challenged the possibilities in the context, both in what kind of place it is physically, what kind of place this is in Norwegian archetypal thinking, and what kind of place when it comes to transformation and political and economic changes. Our conceptual approach combines them. We also had in the earlier days of Snøhetta a lot of tasks for the landscape architects. These were backyard areas in urban, rather slum areas where they did small interventions with planting and surfacing and suddenly things changed. I’m not a landscape architect, but I really learned a lot from them, about what you can do about texture and minor chan­ges in surfaces outdoors. It means a lot. The Kivik also has to be seen in that sense: very little money, very simple programme, if there was a programme at all. Do you know what Snøhetta stands for? Our first office was in a loft on the sixth floor. At the bottom of that building was a café, a real brown drinking place from the last century. It was called Dovrefjell. When we won the competition in Alexandria, we had to get a name. In Norwegian geography, the mountain Snøhetta is on top of Dovrefjell, so why not also with this building in Oslo! In Norwegian nature, Dovrefjell and Snøhetta are in the middle of Norway, and according to fairy tales and Norwegian mythology, trolls come from a huge cavern deep down beneath Dovrefjell and Snøhetta, so this name is filled with metaphors and possible interpretations.


ORIS: Now, a perhaps provocative question. You mentioned today that all these complicated building surfaces and ele­ments are possible through the technique of the computer, producing drawings and also physical items. From the projects for the Arabic countries one might get the impression that the possibility of making things plays a big role in these projects. How far can you go with these methods, not to lose your initial qualities?


SNØHETTA: I think you have to split the question about technology into two spheres in a way. You have the technology of presentation and sale, which is extremely developed these days, and working in Arabic countries you are competing with the most prominent architects. You simply have to come up with impressive illustrations and films. When it comes to development of presentation material, I think that I’m a bit afraid that the ability to draw and a bit more relaxed way of presenting is dying out or is not kept alive, that we get more and more of this. But still, this is how the world develops. I am sure it is the same in the Balkans, as it is in Spain, Germany, France, Sweden or Norway, the building in­dustry is still surprisingly old fashioned when it comes to how it organizes itself and how it organizes its work and the technology used. There are new materials introduced, but I think the question really is about components and rapid building of first-class structures, very few really succeed with that. It is still a person with a hammer and a saw doing the same things as seventy years ago. What is positive are the new techniques, like the stone-cutting example I gave, that make it possible to have remote planning. This could have ideally been done in India, also from a political point of view giving undeveloped areas the possibility to export high-level components for Western buildings. This is in theory, but still the possibility of democratization and doing things in a new way. At the end of the day it is what is necessary to solve the sustainability and resources crisis. This is definitely what we in Snøhetta regard as the most challenging and difficult question for the next years. We are doing a lot of things right now in the office to get everybody upgraded on the knowledge of sustainability. In that sense, you have to have state-of-the-art technology as a component here. In an intelligent combination with the old knowledge that is forgotten about how to take the consequences of wind, terrain and all those things. Now in the project in Saudi Arabia, those façades are covered with circular steel tubes, where you need to look out, the tubes are pressed flat, and then you get a kind of brise-soleil. They follow a very complicated geometry and will be filled with water, used water from the building and fresh water. This system is also dependent on the ability to draw it, to explain it to the producers, the complicated geometry. Such things are developed very rapidly now. I’m positive to that aspect of technology, I don’t think we can save the world or the globe or the future by having thicker jackets in the winter or eating less, we also have to have more instruments and new technologies.


ORIS: When you say that these two projects, the Gateway project and King Abdul Aziz Centre are much about the sche­me, much more about the skin or a set of coincidental arrangements, I think that’s something that the context was in the major projects. On the other hand, if you take the Memorial Museum in New York, it’s a very specific contextual framework. It’s what I think has come back to the roots of Snøhetta.


SNØHETTA: With this question you are touching one of the most sensitive discussions we have internally. We have been growing now and we get opportunities to work in totally different areas. We have been in Egypt and now we know more about working in Arabic, Islamic societies than most other architects. Still, the projects down there are heavily discussed within the office for two reasons: we have the ethics and the professional response that we are expected to give. We have permanent discussions on ethics in Snøhetta, a huge variety of questions, also simple questions like do we send a female project manager to Jeddah, how should she be dressed, do we accept working with let’s say a courthouse in a country that has Sharia laws that we know very little about – a lot of very explicit challenges and simpler yet atypical questions, like what about the money flow, are workers from the third world exploited, where are we in the chain of values from the drawing to the finished building – we try to have such discussions very openly, and we learn from them, also to the benefit for the projects – and our clients. Those discussions are demanding, since they are also about sustainability, about think global but act local, all sorts of things.


ORIS: Also about the role of the architect in society, must the architect be avant-garde in society or be in a way adapted?


SNØHETTA: My answer is simply: an open one. To me, a lot of the projects we have been talking about have been developed in a context which is both emotional and intellectual. I love the projects because I can see how they reflect their surroundings, not in a narrow sense but in a wider one. To me personally, those projects are in a way impressive but still much, much more complicated. I’m not fully aware whether this is necessary, is it something that we can really stand for, all the things I mentioned. Once again, with the method of trust in each other’s mentality and the open discussions we hope to find a way. We have some types of jobs we say no to, like all kinds of military installations, without compromise. We’re not pacifists, but we simply say, ‘This is not for us.’ I guess we’ll also find some kind of good working strategies in the new contexts we are into. In our office here in Oslo we have six Saudi Arabian professionals, working together with us. They are representatives of a client and have been here for more than a year, working very well together with us. Such collaboration is very important, both parties learn a lot from each other, and the different cultures we represent.


ORIS: Let us speak about New York.


SNØHETTA: That has also been a very complicated and difficult story.


ORIS: Craig Dykers said, ‘Our designs should speak to what these places will be. So the design tries to balance the initial Libeskind scheme and the recent commercial planning.’ In which way will that happen?


SNØHETTA: I think there are only a few projects where there has been so much said and written as with the WTC project. We won the competition on a very simple and premature concept. A year and a half after 9/11, at that time, the mayor of New York was a Democrat, as also was the political leadership in the county. They wanted this museum to have a kind of an atmosphere saying to the world, ‘Okay, we were hit, but we will forgive you, because we are strong and old and we have a lot of resources, and we want to open up to the world and hope for future discussions.’ We made a programme for the interior for the whole project. That in a way reflected this open, slightly idealistic, democratic way of thinking. But at the same time there were the Republicans, supported by the wind of some people who have lost relatives or friends. They wanted a different content and a totally different building. They wanted a hard-cut building, saying, ‘We will survive whatever. You put loads on us and we will be able to survive because we are the strongest.’ This discussion really went on a very high political level from time to time, and there were changes in the political leadership in New York, and we made project after project, with always new alternatives. So for Craig Dykers, who is the head of the NY office, it has been a very tough task actually. We have a lot of other tasks in the US which actually are more pleasing. After all these years, it will soon be ten years since 9/11, the project is much smaller, and everybody has agreed now to make a simpler exhibition telling simply what happened here, and on the site there will be a sculptural memorial, and then our building leading to a subterranean museum where you can see the foundation elements and pieces. Our building will now basically be a visitors centre which is not little, because they expect some six million visitors a year, where people will get something to drink, go to the restroom, buy some books and all that, so it’s a building with a simpler programme. In a way, it also reflects all these discussions. I think that the friction on a form, a piece of architecture that has been through a lot of discussions will perhaps have a tilting here, a cut in there, a series of openings in this direction due to a lot of discussions and friction in the process. I think the building now seems to be rather precise, and even richer in a way. Snøhetta has managed to maintain a character, although the building is smaller and all that, and hopefully now, it will be built before the 10th ‘anniversary’. I hear exactly what you say, you said very openly that you feel that Snøhetta is more in their own line of contextual awareness with this project in New York. That’s absolutely true, I’m thinking the same way.