“Both the Oslo Opera House and the Stavanger Geopark have become icons of their cities. One represents the renewal of our capital, the other our explorations in oil and gas. While they differ in scale and size, they are both stages. One is a stage for music and dance, the other for children’s play. Situated on the coastline of our country, they also reflect a new current in Norwegian design - one that increasingly aspires to create open meeting spaces where people freely can gather. They have transformed previously desolate sites into popular public arenas.”
“Buildings also reveal the values of a country. I am especially proud to celebrate two projects that in such a thoughtful way highlight these principles of openness and community,” said H.M Queen Sonja in her speech at the MoMA ceremony.
Snøhetta’s Oslo Opera House, Oslo Norway (2000–08), is a model for the critically acclaimed Oslo Opera House, a vast, 414,000-square-foot complex located at the head of Oslofjord that is home to Norway’s national opera and ballet companies. In addition to its three theatres, the building contains over 1,000 rooms that house offices, rehearsal spaces, and a scenery workshop. Snøhetta received the commission to build the opera house after their design won first place in a competition hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Church and Cultural Affairs. The model is a gift of the Kingdom of Norway.
Helen & Hard’s Geopark, Stavanger, Norway (2007-08) comprises a model, drawing, and graphic identity for a public park that the firm initiated and completed in 2008 for the city of Stavanger—Norway’s oil capital—in partnership with the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. Using input from workshops with different community youth groups, the firm conceived of the park as an experiment in creating urban space by transforming material from Norway’s petroleum industry into objects of play. Taking its form from the topography of Norway’s vast underwater Troll natural gas and oil field, it incorporates bright orange buoys, salvaged pipelines, recycled drilling platforms, bike ramps, interactive play spaces, and a graffiti wall all floating above the park’s colorful surface. It is a gift of the architects and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.
Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen from Snøhetta, H.M Queen Sonja, H.M King Harald, Reinhard Kropf and Siv Helen Stangeland from Helen & Hard.
”For some time the curators in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design have been following the vibrant creativity of architecture and landscape architecture in Norway, where a true design culture has firm roots in a series of key practices,” said Barry Bergdoll, MoMA’s Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design. “Both projects represent design ideas with real resonance for some of the key issues and opportunities facing cities worldwide today.”