Design Attitude vs Design Method



…every building has a context, and the context constitutes the form of the building….

(Thomas Fagernes, Snøhetta)



Thomas Fagernes, architect, partner/director from Snøhetta, was invited to Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) to share ideas and experiences on architecture. The architecture firm is originally based in Oslo, Norway with several branch offices in New York, Hong Kong, Innsbruck etc. The public lecture was held in Aula Timur (East Assembly Hall), the landmark building of ITB on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 at 11.30 a.m.


With a brief opening remark by dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Policy Development (SAPPD), Prof. Widjaja Martokusumo, the lecture was then moderated by the chair of undergraduate program in Architecture, Aswin Indraprastha PhD. The audience consisted of students, young architects/professionals and faculty members of the Architecture Department of SAPPD ITB. This special event was part of the Nordic Road Show program in Indonesia (Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Bandung and Jakarta) and had been made possible thanks to the support of the Embassy of Nordic countries, ITB and the Municipality of Bandung.


Snøhetta, named after a mountain in Norway, has a basic philosophy of design, which was inspired by a sensitive understanding of the landscape. Fagernes, who had visited some places in Indonesia (Nias, Padang, Toraja etc.) in the 1990s, elucidated his ideas and concerns that people will always be the focus of (design) interventions. That was very clear in all the projects discussed throughout his presentation. With his concern on the nexus between people and landscape he strongly emphasizes the importance of context as follows: “…every building has a context, and the context constitutes the form of the building”. Fagernes admires the variety of cultures in Indonesia and he was greatly flabbergasted with the Aula Timur, which is considered as a well-thought design solution in regard to the functionality and the sensitive respond to regional imperatives. At the end of his speech, he also challenged the students of Architecture to always be passionately critical in understanding the context.

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