If you look at a city from the plane it might be a living room; so scale often is portrayed at the level of content it has, relating to how close you might be observing it. Comparing two projects: the Tubaloon and the Opera House, which have similar purposes but are very different in scale, would you say that one was more complex than the other? The Tubaloon took four months, so it doesn’t allow you to change your mind while you’re doing it. The design and programme of the building have been subject to many revisions as political pressure and public sentiment adjust their intentions for the sensitive site. What’s the best way you’ve found to retain conceptual clarity in a project like the opera house? The current evolution of the design will function as an entrance connecting the Memorial at street level with the exhibition space below. Kjetil Thorsen
But scale is a difficult issue, because depending on the distance to the object, obviously scale changes. Craig Dykers
It’s very easy to be reliant on your personal or cultural baggage, so to surround yourself with people of different backgrounds, academically or culturally, helps you to question your own directions. right:
The design project

The timber wave wall between the public space and the theatre spaces. Kjetil Thorsen
I think the design process starts very much before that. You have said that the people who architects design for are not abstractions. right:
1:1 mock-up of part of the tubular steel shading and glazing layers; this is used to test the design, manufacture and performance of an important element of the building. Nothing should be considered particularly stupid. It took ten years to plan, fund and build the $750 million structure, which has a floor area of 38,500m2 (415,000 square feet). This experimentation demands more design process control because it is more difficult to maintain a thread throughout the process. The next phase is usually a lot of talking and not drawing so much. If you consider only form then you would be very quickly lost. The design project

The factory The three elements combined

Project: Norwegian National Opera and Ballet Location: Oslo, Norway Architects: Sn0hetta Date: 2008
Detail drawing of the timber wave wall between the public space and the theatre spaces. Snohetta is an integrated landscape, interior and architecture practice based in Oslo, Norway, and New York, USA. Craig Dykers
The creative process sometimes needs to allow for ad hoc or surprise directions to occur. By a new word we have invented: simplexity. So in that sense I guess there’s no such thing as a real scale. Everything should be considered important and you have to move through the ideas in order to determine if they’re applicable or not. Kjetil Thorsen
Scale models and mock-ups: for instance, where you have to walk through them or you have to touch them. The design project

The National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion will be a cultural institution on the site of the former World Trade Center in New York. This drawing would be used to communicate its general arrangement to the contractor. If we draw, it’s diagrams, trying to explain certain settings, which we find from a more subjective way of looking at the analysis. Craig Dykers
It’s not about the fact that different disciplines are interacting, it’s about not knowing which discipline belongs to which cultural or academic route. Craig Dykers
Also, the notion of discussion doesn’t die as the project moves forward, so in terms of associative issues we’re often re-envisioning our understanding of an object. Many of Snohetta’s projects are culturally, technically, spatially and programmatically complex. Kjetil Thorsen
We talk about how you sit or how you lie, how the night looks, how the day looks when you walk through. That’s why we sometimes don’t say we design projects, you know; they sort of grow in a group, during meetings without agendas. You could also say that objects change scale in themselves depending on where you are located. below right:
Conceptually the Opera House is divided into the back stage (the factory) and the public spaces (the carpet) by a timber screen (the wave wall) along the shore line. Project: Norwegian National Opera and Ballet Location: Oslo, Norway Architects: Sn0hetta Date: 2008
above right:
Open day for the public during construction, showing the use of the roof of the building as a public promenade. The design project It is not the way you’re looking for inherent complexities but how you try to solve these complexities in the simplest manner. 1361137

Project: King Abdulaziz Centre for Knowledge and Culture Location: Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Architects: Snohetta Date: Ongoing

Early conceptual model of tubular steel shading wrapped around the pebble form of the building. Maintaining conceptual ideas is to put up a set of rules that everyone follows up to a certain point. After a lot of talking you start sketching. Kjetil Thorsen
It’s like a funnel. If you don’t think through that idea wisely in the very early stages of the project, the whole thing can fold because there’s simply not enough traction in all the different materials and choices to allow the project to move forwards. It is the workplace for approximately 600 employees from more than 50 professions. The directors, Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen, teach in Oslo, New York and Innsbruck and they lecture internationally. The design project

Kjetil Thorsen
Also not trying to put all your ideas into every project. The New Opera House, Oslo, completed in 2008, is part of an urban transformation of Oslo’s waterfront. The site and context for every project are considered to be unique, which is a major inspiration for Snohetta’s design work. They require the involvement of many different individuals and organisations, from politicians to pest control. They’re normally codified into some functional analysis. Maybe large-scale projects allow you to experiment more, simply because the economy follows the size of the project. The form might be complex, but the way you solve the form might be simpler. The practice is known for its international cultural projects, many of them large in scale, complexity and cultural significance. Craig Dykers
It’s very difficult to imagine things as they may appear in reality, as they will be when they’re completed; so going back and forth between scales allows you to move more freely between the built environment and the imagined one.

Updated: 31.10.2014 — 00:57