[Update: While Snøhetta is drawing up the master plan for the area around Penn Station, Brooklyn-based W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, working with Production Glue, designed the new Plaza33.]
Turning the truly miserable blocks around New York City’s Penn Station into a pleasant and calming retreat would appear to be an impossible undertaking. But Vornado Realty Trust—the primary property owner around the station—believes it can do it with the help of some experienced, Norwegian architects. Enter: Snøhetta.
Snøhetta brings a touch of modern design to the old cable car with this winning gondola in the Italian Alps
Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta has been selected as the winner of a competition to design a cable car that will take visitors to the top of Virgolo Mountain, near Bolzano, Italy, for the first time in 40 years. The mountain has been practically inaccessible since the city closed its historic cable railway in 1976. The new cable car transit system will take visitors to the top in just one minute.
If constructing a museum were this effortless, there might be one on nearly every street corner. Norway-based firm Snøhetta recently posted a time-lapse video of the ongoing expansion of SF MoMA, compressing a two-year effort into a roughly 7-second breeze-through akin to folding origami: “2 years of construction over in the blink of an eye—time flies when you’re having fun and we can’t wait for Spring 2016!” The caption on the Instagram video reads.
When the words “Scandinavian Design” come up, most people quickly think about Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. But Norway is no slouch, either. Recently, the nation’s designers have been drumming up noise in the worlds of furniture, product design, and architecture. A string of exhibitions, a master plan for New York’s Times Square, and a robust program of roadside pavilions and viewing platforms highlight this Norsk moment.
The frustratingly congested, obnoxiously loud, and aggressively dirty area around Penn Station is easily the worst part of Manhattan. It is the reason why tourists qualify their vacation stories about New York with “but I could never live there.” Turning the dreadful area around the station (let’s leave the hated station out of it for now) into a pleasant place where people want to spend time and not just push and shove their way through is a Herculean task, but one that Snøhetta has agreed to take on.
In 2010, director Wim Wenders created a 3D video installation at the Venice Architecture Biennale about the Bolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, called If These Walls Could Talk. The ability to visually explore the building and simulate being inside the space that the medium affords inspired him to team up with Robert Redford to create a 3D series called Cathedrals of Culture, which will be shown at the IFC Center in New York beginning on May 1.
Not to be outdone by proposals in Chicago and New York, Snøhetta and WCITARCHITECTURE have thrown their hats into the ring for the Obama Presidential Library, sketching a unique building in the President’s home state of Hawaii. If selected, their Barack Obama Presidential Center, affiliated with the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, would take its cues from the forms of both a coral reef and the area’s undulating topography.