It is always super exciting to write about architectural projects, especially the ones that have been implemented in a nearby location.
Norwegian-American architecture firm Snøhetta is one of my favourites, I find their projects truly fascinating. The first thing that comes to my mind when looking at one of their many buildings (okay, let’s call them buildings, even though they are so much more than that!), is connectedness. They are so intensely connected to the surrounding environment (be it a coastline or a square in the centre of a city or even the middle of a forest) and pay homage to its eternal power. One example is a huge glass “bubble” with a library inside, the glass surface being nearly invisible, which washes away the boundary between inside and outside. Or just think of the Opera House in Oslo, which is not only intended to be visited by opera or ballet fans, but it actually lets you take a look at what is going on inside the building and the cafes and gift shops which are organic parts of the structure, are open to the public.
The Friluftssykehuset project completed in 2018 tells even more about connectedness than perhaps any project before. It was implemented in two locations, Oslo (Rikshospitalet) and Kristiansand (next to Sørlandet Hospital) in the south of Norway. Both consist of wooden cabins built in the middle of relaxing forests and – thus being organic parts of nature – they serve as outdoor care retreats for patients and their families, especially after long-term hospitalization that usually means a great deal of isolation.
Being so close to nature has a miraculous therapeutic effect on health in general and Snøhetta’s project is a pioneer in this respect. Let’s hope this example is “contagious” and many more will follow all around the world.
Pictures sourced from Snøhetta.