Interview with Tarald Lundevall
Snøhetta Architects, Oslo

How important to your architectural work is your collaboration with artists – while planning the Opera House in Oslo, for instance, and in general?

We try to establish a close collaboration with artists in all our projects. We regard them as our team specialists when discussing conceptual matters. The artists who were involved in the planning process for the Oslo Opera House made wide-ranging and valuable contributions.

Did you plan to create the Opera House as a public space for everyone from the beginning, and if so, why?

Even as early as in our competition entry, we proposed to build the opera roof as an open and free public space. This allowed us to use the site for two purposes: to locate the Opera House there and to establish an urban plaza that related to the cityscape and that belonged to and was open to everyone.

Snøhetta works on many cultural projects such as museums and cultural centres. In your references, I noticed a dance palace in St. Petersburg and even a new library in Alexandria. What is special about making concepts for cultural buildings?

Cultural buildings are always faced with a wide variety of expectations and are linked to complex contexts, both functionally and emotionally. For these reasons, the concept phase is very challenging and important for these kinds of buildings.

Thank you very much for the interview!