In 2012 I ended a holiday in Norway by staying two nights in an Oslo hotel that overlooked the city’s waterfront regeneration. The cultural centre-piece was the National Opera & Ballet building which had opened in 2008 with the architecture practice, Snohetta, winning the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2009. The building still looked like new with its angular exterior of glass and granite and interior of oak louvres and white marble.
There is much that I like about this building but in particular how the architecture embraces the public realm as if the building and landscape are from the same idea. A continuous surface from the rooftop to where the building disappears into the fjord invites an interactivity between the building and the people visiting. They enjoy the views, hang out on the slopes, find spaces to play and can, of course, go to the opera too.
At the end of the stay I spent a couple of hours making photographs though not solely for the architecture. It felt plausible instead to work like a street photographer would in a public space that was full of people and life. Recalling such memories is just what is needed when updating my journal at this time.