Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2022

Department 1



The construction industry accounts for nearly 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions, which ultimately leads to climate change. Because of a lack of global consensus and accountability on a large scale about how to combat climate change, certain countries and cities are leading the charge on mitigation, since they tend to be more progressive and homogenous. Norway is one of those countries, and happens to be the headquarters for Snøhetta, a design company, that is designing buildings that are not only energy-efficient but also functional for the space in which it resides. Snøhetta very much values the interconnection between the material world and humans. In the spaces they create, they strive for there to be a harmonious relationship between all living things, even in the future. In order for the space to still be functional in the future, they have to design for it to be sustainable, one of the company’s top values. Snøhetta follows the motto “form follows environment” when designing buildings to be sustainable. That means that in order to make a functional, sustainable building, they design the form and structure of the building last, after deciding how to optimize its efficiency. Energy-efficient buildings today also have to be planned thoroughly to include features on the inside and out, as well as utilizing elements that are in the vicinity of the building to maximize their standards. Snøhetta has designed a lot of very notable buildings, but in this paper, four of their sites are analyzed according to their level of efficiency, and how well they made the space functional in regards to the context, users, and location of the space. Those sites are Powerhouse Brattørkaia, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the National September 11 Museum Memorial Pavilion. These sites located in Norway, Egypt, and the United States, each have energy-efficient qualities, yet the sites are deemed as sculptures and functional for the purpose of the space.


Written for ARTH 400: Seminar in Art History

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.