Trade Award Luncheon: Speech
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Crown Prince and I are very happy to attend this luncheon to celebrate the conferral of the Norwegian–American Chamber of Commerce Trade Award to the architecture firm Snøhetta. My sincere congratulations!
The Norwegian–American Chamber of Commerce is doing an excellent job in promoting trade relations between our two countries, from their headquarters in New York and seven local chapters all over the United States.
Even in today’s “connected” world, the need for personal meetings and network-building is as important as ever. The Chamber offers its members just such opportunities. This luncheon is one example of an event that brings members together.
Today we are here to celebrate Snøhetta. The international recognition they have received is unique in a Norwegian context. Snøhetta have won several international competitions involving hundreds of participants from all over the world, and have been awarded several prestigious international prizes.
The scope of Snøhetta´s work is vast, ranging from restaurant interiors and courtyard landscapes to museums and other major cultural buildings, like the Opera House in Oslo, which has become a landmark.
One of the main characteristics of Snøhetta is the importance attached to context and landscape, and to achieving harmony between buildings and their surroundings. Close collaboration with artists has been of crucial importance in most of their projects, and they operate with great success in the interface between art, culture and business. Snøhetta also strive to produce designs that are eco-friendly, sustainable and of high quality.
Snøhetta has special ties to New York. It was here their American adventure started. As we all know, they have been commissioned to design the National September 11 Memorial Museum and Pavilion – the only building to actually stand on the memorial grounds. We visited the memorial site this morning, and we were very impressed by the plans for the site. The design both meets the need for a worthy memorial and is an example of visionary and innovative architecture.
Two other exiting projects for Snøhetta in the US are the Times Square Reconstruction Project here in New York and the extension of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A Wall Street Journal critic has written - quote: “What Snøhetta practices could be called the architecture of engagement, a building conceived as a social and environmental act instead of a static, formal object”, unquote.
Again, congratulations to Snøhetta for the achievements so far.
I look forward to continuing to follow their work here in New York, in the United States, in Norway and the rest of the world.
The Norwegian–American Chamber of Commerce is approaching its 100th anniversary. I am sure the Chamber will continue to be a vibrant and dynamic organisation that reflects the economic and corporate diversity of businesses in Norway and the United States, and advances the common interests of your members.