Snøhetta is a mountain in the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsjiella National Park in Norway. Its name means “snow-capped mountain”. For the architecture and landscape practice Snøhetta, the name is the game, so to speak. It describes the distinctive attitude that the international team of designers has adopted and developed over the years. At Snøhetta, architecture and landscape design go hand-in-hand as equal partners, starting with the very first design considerations. With this concept at its core, Snøhetta was founded in Oslo just over 30 years ago.

The “Bibliotheca Alexandrina” Library in Egypt was the studio’s first major commission, receiving the Aga Kahn Award in 2004. Over the years, the Snøhetta team has grown to around 280 employees and office locations on various continents. In addition to Oslo, further branches have been established in New York and Innsbruck, Paris and San Francisco, Adelaide and Hong Kong. One of the rituals of this international think tank, which today also includes graphics, interior and product design in its portfolio, is the staff outing to the Snøhetta mountains in Norway.

The snowy mountains of Norway are referenced in many of Snøhetta’s projects. The Oslo Opera House, for instance, invokes the image of a giant iceberg. The building’s complex architectural program includes not only diverse interiors, but also an accessible roof landscape. As a panoramic platform and popular destination, it is accessible to the public and attracts about one million visitors per year. The built roofscape blends into the urban fabric to create a place of community.

Snøhetta’s projects are carefully designed places that bring people together and inspire them to interact. Thus the foyer of the library in Calgary, Canada, is not only a circulation space, but also a popular place to linger and meet. The central, light-flooded hall in the manufacturing building of the Austrian crystal producer Swarovski opens up like a large stage, making it ideal for staging lectures as well as official events and informal meetings.

This monograph documents 14 projects by Snøhetta with architectural photos, and drawings and building details. Among them is the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Saudi Arabia, which was recently completed. An interview with Kjetil Thorsen, one of the founding partners, complements the project documentation and provides insights into a compelling design approach that has proved itself internationally.

Sandra Hofmeister




Sandra Hofmeister (ed.),

Snøhetta, Architecture and Construction Details,

200 pages with numerous illustrations
23 x 32 cm
English / German
Edition Detail, Munich, March 2020

ISBN: 978-3-95553-456-1








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Dr. Sandra Hofmeister

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