Great to see Snøhetta’s work on the shortlist for the V&A’s satellite building in Dundee. One sincerely hopes that architect like Gareth Hoskins can take something from the collaboration and start designing more exciting buildings. Of course, Snøhetta are a practice with a huge experience of working with landscape and seascape and were it not for the fact that they are perhaps too well known internationally for this kind of work, they would be a shoe-in. Also, the sheer scale of the National Opera House in Oslo shows the scale they like to work on. Their challenging scheme for the Turner Contemporary art centre in Margate was aborted in February 2006. Snøhetta’s scheme which thrust the gallery into the pounding surf, suffered from spiralling costs leading to the council to legal proceedings in 2008 to recover £5.8 million in design costs.
This project however, scoops the lot for ambition – a brilliant bold reinvention of the relationship between human habitat and seascape. This speculative project is called the Deep Ocean Laboratory: part of a research centre for Marintek, one of Norway’s most important marine technology companies. The Deep Ocean Laboratory is located to the central off the coast of Norway near the harbour of Nyhavna, close to Trondheim. It is part of a wider move to redevelop Nyhavna as The Knowledge City of Norway – a centre for technology and research. The proposal has been created to attract investors but it is a genuine projects. Marintek, hope to realize the Centre within 10 years from now with The Deep Ocean Laboratory – around 16 000 sq m in size – at its heart.
Below is a picture of the project proposed for the V&A. Anyone who has been to Dundee will know that the north bank of the Tay is pretty exposed. In technical terms, Snøhetta, with their experience of building a huge opera house in even harsher conditions, have the experience to do the job. That said, all the shortlised projects have a great deal of potential.