The architecture of Norwegian Sverre Fehn is a fascinating and exciting combination of modern forms tempered by the Scandinavian tradition and culture from which it springs. He gives great primacy in his designs to the relationship between the built and the natural environment.
Eschewing the clever, the novel and the sensational, Fehn has pursued his version of twentieth century modernism steadily and patiently for the past fifty years. With one carefully designed project after another, he has displayed a virtuosity and creativity that now ranks him among the leading architects of the world.
The Norwegian Pavilion at the 1958 Worlds Fair in Brussels gave early notice of his special talents. The Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale a few years later was a confirmation. Since those early works, Fehn has proven that he is an architect for all seasons with many dimensions, allowing him to be as comfortable with the design of furniture, exhibitions and objects as he is with architecture. His eloquence with materials is easily matched by his poetic command of words.
The geography of place and time, with a range of diversity that includes primitive Morocco and today's New York City, as well as an amalgam of a multitude of influences have played an important role in Fehn's development. Some of the great architects of the century Louis Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright, LeCorbusier, Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe, Jean Prouvé, as well as his fellow countryman and mentor Arne Korsmo have provided inspiration, but Fehn's results have a singular individuality and originality.
He has avoided fads and fashions that have influenced much of contemporary architecture, patiently evolving his own individual style, always seeking improvement.
He has broken new ground in giving modern architectural form to elements of his native Norwegian landscape northern light, grey stone and verdant green forest blending fantasy and reality into buildings that are both contemporary and timeless.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the museum at Hamar where in addition to balancing the requirements of site and program, the combination of ancient and contemporary had to be in harmony.
Sverre Fehn's body of work stands as testament to the talent, creativity and sensitivity of one of the master architects of the world It is fitting that he should be the 1997 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.