09 september 2019

Bjarne Melgaard #4

A House to Die In, 2011 - ongoing.

"It all starts in 2011 when the Norwegian artist, Bjarne Melgaard, reaches out to Olav and Frederik Selvaag with the idea of making a sculpture that would double as a house. Having a long tradition of supporting Norwegian artists, the Selvaag brothers adhere to the idea. Shortly after, Snøhetta gets involved in the project, and since then the artist and the architects have exchanged thoughts, drawings, 3D models and documents to design a house that will function as Melgaard’s private residence and atelier.
The building is clad with black, burned oak, inspired by Japanese building traditions. The burnt oak will naturally erode over time so that the building gradually changes character throughout the years and seasons. A shallow water pond below the building creates an illusion of a «floating» building. "

"The Selvaag brothers suggest Kikkut, a plot that has been owned by the Selvaag family for decades on the west side of Oslo, as a good location for the Melgaard house. The choice of the plot comes naturally as the area is already an artistic hub thanks to its proximity to the art colony Ekely and Edvard Munch’s former home and atelier. Nothing has been built on the plot since the villa that used to adorn the plot was demolished in 1989. The Selvaag brothers see a good opportunity to realize an ambitious art project on behalf of an artist that they have followed for a long time."
(bron: Snøhetta)

"Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard has sparked controversy with his plans to build a ‘UFO’ home close to the site of Edvard Munch’s former studio.

Melgaard enlisted Snøhetta to design the sci-fi-esque sculpture – dubbed ‘A House to Die in’ – for a plot close to the Ekely estate where the ‘Scream’ painter spent the last 28 years of his life. Munch’s studio was preserved after his death, though his villa was razed in the 1960s, and the area became an artist colony, now home to 44 creatives. Not all are happy about the proposed new arrival.

‘This is the only place where Munch lived and worked for 30 years,’ artist Halvard Haugerud, a 20-year resident of the colony, told The New York Times. ‘We just want to keep what’s left of Munch.’

The newspaper reports that the foundations of the site have been vandalised with homophobic graffiti (Melgaard is proudly gay and explores issues of homosexuality, sex and drugs in his work). Melgaard and other members of the colony have also traded barbs in the media as tempers have frayed.

‘A House to Die in’ is a mashup of art and architecture at its most surreal. Woodland creatures form a plinth for its angular, black living volume, whose sharp form appears to ‘float’ above a pool of water, earning it comparisons to an X-Files UFO.

The building’s hardy charred-wood skin – which has a whiff of ‘Darth Vader’ about it – is marked by Melgaard’s drawings.

This union of form and function will continue inside the building. Explains Snøhetta: ‘One of the rooms could function both as swimming pool and dining room, another could function as workspace and spa. These untraditional pairings are a direct symbol of how conventions are prevented from influencing the building’s usage or design.’

But will this fantasy become a reality? The Directorate for Cultural Heritage (Norway’s top authority for architectural preservation) is set to give its verdict on ‘A House to Die in’ this month. If approved, the building authority and the City Council will then have their say."
(bron: The Spaces)

> Bjarne Melgaard

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