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They give equal measure to poetic and pragmatic design decisions.

BOOK / Snohetta Works

Lars Muller Publishers, 2009, [pounds sterling]45

While last year was overshadowed by a reported [pounds sterling]6 million out-of-court settlement, paid by the Snohetta-led design team to Kent County Council over the troubled Turner Contemporary art centre in Margate, it did bring some reward for the practice. Highlights included winning the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award for its fine Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo (AR June 2008), and the publication of Snohetta Works, a record of the firm's first two decades.

Snohetta was formed in 1989, when it was projected onto the world stage with its competition-winning design for the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt (AR September 2001]. Since then, while developing a strong international reputation, the firm claims to have 'existed on the fringe of most international academic and professional networks', and this book serves to show that the majority of its 800 or so projects have been located 'well away from the beaten path of architectural pilgrimage destinations'.

Having witnessed co-founders Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen in action, as they presented the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet to the 2009 Mies Award jury [AR June 2009] it is clear how convincing they are as a unit, presenting with clarity and eloquence their philosophy of giving equal measure to poetic and pragmatic design decisions. This book goes some way towards encapsulating this clarity, with its 78 projects divided into four thematic sections: cut in the ground/ roof as a landscape; box-like structure/framing the landscape; public spaces and buildings; and smooth forms and structures. In addition, 10 key projects are described in much more detail, including the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Bibliotheca Alexandria, Sandvika Cultural Centre, Karmoy Fishing Museum, Petter Dass Museum and Lillehammer Art Museum.

The book also includes three critical essays: 'Artificial Mirages by Dutch critic Bart Lootsma; 'The Intertwined', by Norwegian writer Thure Erik Lund; and 'Points of Origin' by Ingerid H Almaas, editor-in-chief of Norwegian magazine Arkitektur N. ROB GREGORY

+ Certainly covers the ground

- Only goes some way towards encapsulating the clarity of Snohetta's work

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Title Annotation:MARGINALIA; Snohetta Works
Author:Gregory, Rob
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2010
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