Snøhetta's "A House to Die In" Blocked by Oslo Councilors

Oslo councilors have voted to halt the Snøhetta-designed “A House to Die In,” located in the grounds of painter Edward Munch’s former house and workshop in western Oslo. The recent vote, reported by Norwegian newspaper The Local would appear to put an end to the 8-year collaborative process between Snøhetta and Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard.

A House to Die In has become the most controversial building proposal in recent Norwegian history, due to its architectural form and how it honors the legacy of one of Norway’s most famous artists.

Detail of the half-cubist, half-teddy bear support columns, which take on varying degrees of algorithm-assisted abstraction. Image © MIR and Snøhetta

The scheme was designed by Snøhetta and Melgaard to be both a sculptural piece and a house for Melgaard and his parents. Throughout the near-decade-long design process, the scheme has gone through several interactions and placements, with Melgaard previously agreeing to move the house so that only the access road would encroach on public land.

While accepted by national and city conservation authorities, the new plans have been rejected by the city’s politicians who cited the project’s placement as their concern, rather than the architectural form. 

An early-stage rendering of the House’s first design that reveals the design process of the animal-shaped columns, at which time were to be concealed underground in the artist’s private studio space. Image © Snøhetta

We want the site where the death house was intended to be placed to remain a green area for the benefit of the local population, and we encourages Bjarne to find a new site for the project.
-Oslo City Council Statement

Reacting to the news, Melgaard told the Aftenposten newspaper “there is great opposition to new things in Norway.”

View from Munch's Winter atelier with lines indicating the old villa that previously stood on that site. Image © Snøhetta
View from Munch’s Winter atelier with lines indicating where the House to Die In would stand on the site. Image © Snøhetta

The scheme has generated much editorial discussion of late, with the The New York Times describing the building as a U.F.O. Earlier this year, the project was put on public display by the Selvaag Art Collection, showcasing the artistic process of designing the unique home.

You can read a deeper explanation as to why A House to Die In is one of Norway’s most controversial buildings in our recent coverage here.

News via: The Local, Norway

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Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "Snøhetta's "A House to Die In" Blocked by Oslo Councilors" 24 Aug 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

Rendering of proposed design for A House to Die In, as seen ascending the hill. Image © MIR and Snøhetta


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