Set to open to the public on Wednesday after a highly controversial and contested journey from idea to reality, the September 11 Memorial Museum has inevitably been a talking point among critics this week. The museum by Davis Brody Bond occupies the space between the Memorial Plaza at ground level and the bedrock below, with an angular glass pavilion by Snøhetta providing an entrance from above. A long ramp, designed to recall the access ramp with which tons of twisted metal was excavated from the site, descends to the exhibits which sit within the perimeter boundaries of the twin towers’ foundations, underneath the suspended volumes of Michael Arad‘s memorial fountains.
The content of the museum is obviously fraught with painful memories, and the entrance pavilion occupies a privileged position as the only surface level structure ground zero, in opposition to the great voids of the memorial itself. The discussion at the opening of the museum was therefore always going to center on whether the design of the museum – both its built form and the exhibitions contained – were sensitive and appropriate enough for this challenging brief. Read the critics’ takes on the results after the break.
Today marked the ceremonially opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Set to officially open to the public next Wednesday (May 21), the subterranean museum has already made headlines for its emotional 70 foot decent to the bedrock of the World Trade Center Towers.
Prior to entering the museum’s interior, visitors must first walk past the footprints of the Twin Towers, commemorated by Handel Architects’ cascading granite voids, before entering a Snøhetta-designed stainless steel and glass pavilion that is the museum’s entrance.
As Snøhetta’s founding partner, Craig Dyker describes, the pavilion’s main purpose is to serve as the “threshold between the everyday life of the city and the uniquely spiritual quality of the Memorial.”
More about the pavilion from the architects, after the break…
San Francisco’s Presidio Trust isn’t giving up. After rejecting three shortlisted schemes earlier this year that envisioned a “cultural institution of distinction” for the underdeveloped Crissy Field, the Trust has now invited five new teams to envision “kid-friendly” plans for a 13 acre portion of the site.
The five teams, which include James Corner Field Operations, Olson Kundig Architects and Snøhetta, are expected to present their ideas publicly in just three months. A winner will not be selected, though each team will receive $25,000 for their efforts. However, the Trust will be inclined to work with one of the teams should their concepts “dazzle” the audience.
A complete list of the five teams and more project information, after the break…
Australian developer CBUS Property has invited four pairs of Australian and internationally-renowned architectural practices to compete to design an office complex at a 6,000 square meter site in downtown Melbourne, Australia where the National Mutual Plaza currently stands.
See the full shortlist after the break.
Snøhetta’s $55 million redesign — bounded by Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets — creates an uninterrupted and cohesive surface, reinforcing the square’s iconic role as an outdoor stage for entertainment, culture and urban life.
Learn more after the break…
As part of their annual research for the World Architecture Top 100, Building Design (BD) has compiled a list of which architects are most admired by their colleagues from across the globe. Last year’s results were somewhat predictable, with Foster + Partners leading and Renzo Piano’s Building Workshop and Herzog + de Meuron close behind. According to BD, “this year saw a trend towards more commercial names.”
This year’s “most admired” list includes:
The search is over: DIALOG and Snøhetta have been selected from a shortlist of four to design a new central library in the Canadian city of Calgary. Planned for a prime location adjacent to City Hall, the 280,000 square foot “landmark” will “strengthen the fabric of community life by weaving East Village, the original heart of Calgary, back into the story of Centre City.” Once complete in 2018, the new library will serve over 140,000 workers and students who travel downtown every day.
Four shortlisted teams have been asked to design proposals for a new central library in the Canadian city of Calgary. Selected from 38 submissions, the competing teams of local and international architects will harness the power of platemaking to envision a 280,000 square-foot “landmark” for the East Village Calgary. The four shortlisted teams include:
The Louisiana Channel at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark shared with us their video, titled ‘Snøhetta – Memories of Architectural Landscapes,’ which captures the inner and outer landscapes of Snøhetta. The 30-minute tour features one of the heads behind it all – Norwegian architect Kjetil T. Thorsen, who reflects upon some of Snøhetta’s major landmarks such as the Alexandria Library, the opera house in Oslo and The 9/11 Memorial Pavilion on Ground Zero in New York.
From the very beginning in the 1980′s, Snøhetta’s architecture has been inspired by landscapes, both natural and urban. ”Landscapes are a massive force”, says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, co-founder and director of Snøhetta: “And they are masterpieces, which architects can be inspired by.” To view more of Snøhetta’s work, please visit here.
Casson Mann and Snohetta were recently announced as the winners of the prestigious Lascaux IV: International Cave Painting Center competition. With a budget of €50million, Lascaux IV has been initiated to conserve the integrity of the original cave complex, while ensuring that the public can still appreciate the remarkable Paleolithic paintings within. The winning concept includes a low profile exterior that reflects the contours of the limestone topography and a dramatic interior designed to transport the visitor into a cave complex complete with tunnels, cavernous spaces and chambers lit by shafts of broken sunlight. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has announced further details of its 235,000-square-foot building expansion that will support the museum’s increasing role in city life and the international art community. Designed by Norway-based practice Snøhetta, in collaboration with local firm EHDD, the 10-story concrete structure will compliment SFMOMA’s original, Mario Botta-designed, red-brick museum by offering more free-to-the-public space, expanded education programs and an abundance of flexible performance-based gallery space.
Construction will commence this Summer and is expected to reopen in early 2016.
More after the break…
SFMOMA’s new building will include seven levels dedicated to diverse art experiences and programming spaces, along with three housing enhanced support space for the museum’s operations. It will also offer approximately 130,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor gallery space, as well as nearly 15,000 square feet of art-filled free-access public space, more than doubling SFMOMA’s current capacity for the presentation of art while maintaining a sense of intimacy and connection to the museum’s urban surroundings. Other notable features include:
- A large-scale vertical garden located in a new outdoor sculpture terrace on the third floor, which will be the biggest public living wall of native plants in San Francisco.
- A versatile, double-height “white box” space on the fourth floor equipped with cutting-edge lighting and sound systems that, in tandem with the museum’s upgraded Phyllis
- Wattis Theater, will open new doors for SFMOMA’s program of live art, and also improve services for school-group tours, film screenings, and special events.
- State-of-the-art conservation studios on the seventh and eighth floors that will further SFMOMA’s progressive work in the care and interpretation of its growing collections.
- An environmentally sensitive approach on track to achieve LEED Gold certification, with 15% energy-cost reduction, 30% water-use reduction, and 20% reduction in wastewater generation.
- A new outdoor terrace on the seventh floor with incredible city views, further integrating the urban indoor/outdoor experience that SFMOMA began in 2009 with the opening of its current rooftop sculpture garden on the fifth floor.
At the same time, as previously announced, new public spaces and additional public entrances to the building (on Howard and Minna Streets) are designed to increase access and weave the museum more deeply into the neighborhood. A mid-block, street-level pedestrian promenade will open a new route of circulation in the area, enlivening the side streets and offering a pathway between SFMOMA and the Transbay Transit Center currently under construction two blocks east of the museum. Building on the popularity of the museum’s artist commissions in its admission-free atrium, an expansive free-to-access gallery on the ground floor with 25-foot-high glass walls facing Howard Street will now place art—such as Richard Serra’s enormous walk-in spiral sculpture Sequence (2006)—on view to passersby for the first time. This gallery will also feature stepped seating, offering a resting and gathering point for museum tour groups and neighborhood denizens alike.
“SFMOMA has had a tremendous impact on the economic and cultural vitality of the South of Market neighborhood and the city,” says San Francisco’s District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim. “Even though this area is one of the city’s oldest, in many ways it’s still the freshest, where much of the most dramatic change is happening. The museum’s expanded home in this cultural center will provide even greater public access and support to emerging and established artists as a hub of creativity and international art destination. I look forward to seeing the district grow and evolve even further as SFMOMA’s future takes shape.”
News via SFMOMA
The Golden State Warriors recently announced that Snøhetta and AECOM have been selected as the architecture team to design the Warriors’ new sports and entertainment complex on the San Francisco waterfront. Currently in the final stages of the agreement, the new stadium will be a true centerpiece in hosting the Bay Area’s NBA basketball team, as well as provide a great venue concerts, cultural events and conventions, which are all prominent events the city currently cannot accommodate. More images of the architects’ design can be viewed after the break.
Snøhetta was recently selected as the winner of the Busan Opera House Competition in South Korea with their ‘Unpacking the Box’ concept. Their proposal is conceived not as frozen music but rather as an instrument, upon which we can play. This instrument is neither a white cube nor a black box, empty devoid of expression; this Opera building outward expresses the values and ethos of the place and content. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Taking place at the Museum of Finnish Architecture October 10-November 25, the Norwegian architecture, landscape architecture and interior design office, Snøhetta, is showcasing their firm and its work in videos, computer animations, 3D models, photographs, drawings, and texts. Presented in eight sections, the first section looks at the practice itself and its offices in Oslo and New York. The following five are devoted to five key projects: the National September 11 Memorial Museum, the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, the Ras Al-Khaimah Gateway Development, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, all presented with accompanying scale models. The highlight of the exhibition is a touch-screen display providing fingertip access to data on 100 of Snøhetta’s projects.
The exhibition was produced by the Norwegian National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design with Snøhetta. It was commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and brought to Helsinki by the Norwegian Embassy in Finland. For more information, please visit here.