February 11, 2018
Edvard Munch’s Controversial New Neighbor: “A House to Die In”
Controversy has erupted in Norway in response to a proposal to build a house next to Edvard Munch’s. Munch lived the last 28 years of his life on an estate called Ekely in an area outside of Oslo. The villa has since been torn down, and there is now an …
Controversy has erupted in Norway in response to a proposal to build a house next to Edvard Munch’s. Munch lived the last 28 years of his life on an estate called Ekely in an area outside of Oslo. The villa has since been torn down, and there is now an artists colony, but the views he painted and his winter studio are still standing. “A house to die in” would change those views.
The house will be the home of Bjarne Melgaard and the architectural firm working on the projects is Snohetta. Melgaard is a well known and highly controversial Norwegian contemporary artist, and Snohetta is an architectural firm responsible for the design of the Manhattan September 11 Memorial Museum, among other major projects. Norway’s heritage conservation authority will soon decide whether or not to allow the house to be built. It is drastically different than anything Munch would have seen, although there was a house at its prospective location while Munch was alive.
The house’s design is based on a sketch by Melgaard, and if built will be a modern black form resting on columns resembling animals. The exterior will have burned wood and the interior will have movable walls and innovative multifunctional rooms, such as one that will combine a dining room and swimming pool. There will be a so-called suspended drug room (not used for narcotics but rather to create a sense of disorientation), and proposals for an underground studio shaped like a tiger and a 40 foot tower were rejected.
“Nothing continues forever, so I was interested in the notion that you can have a house to die in, where you say, ‘It’s my end station,’” -Bjarne Melgaard