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USA: The Queen's speech at MoMA

Speech given by Her Majesty Queen Sonja at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New Yourk during an official visit to the United States 13 - 22 October 2011.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed a great pleasure and privilege for me to present to the Museum of Modern Art a model of the Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta and a model of the Stavanger Geopark by Helen & Hard.

The Geopark is an inventive playground for children in Stavanger, while the Oslo Opera House is a cultural landmark which has proved to be a major tourist attraction.

I want to thank Glenn Lowry, director of MoMA and Barry Bergdoll, Chief Curator of Architecture and Design for today’s event. MoMA has always been a frontrunner in recognizing new innovative developments in the arts. We are all excited by your interest in Norwegian architecture. Today these two models become part of your famous collection – which as you all know - houses models of some of the most important buildings of our time.

Architecture is a leading force in Norwegian design today. Our country is famous for its dramatic landscapes; fjords, forests and mountains – a unique backdrop that our art forms are known to reflect. Our own frontrunner in the field of architecture is Sverre Fehn, who’s work paved the way for original new Norwegian designs that delicately integrates with nature. He stated that; 'building is a brutal confrontation of culture on nature, and in that confrontation you can find balance and beauty'.

On home ground both in Oslo and New York, Snøhetta has demonstrated a remarkable talent in combining sensibilities of space and structure with reflections of functionality, beauty and commemoration. From the Oslo Opera House to the Pavilion of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the inspiring architecture of Snøhetta has truly put Norwegian architecture on the map.

Stavanger based Helen & Hard are known for their dedication to create sustainable and humane urban environments. In a unique and playful way they employ resources originally developed for the offshore industry to the field of architecture and design. This is reflected in their Geopark project. The topography of this park is based on the geological layers of the Troll field, our most valuable oil and gas reservoir hidden several thousand metres below the seabed in the North Sea.

Both the Oslo Opera House and the Stavanger Geopark have become icons of their cities. One represents the renewal of our capital, the other our explorations in oil and gas. While they differ in scale and size, they are both stages. One is a stage for music and dance, the other for children’s play. Situated on the coastline of our country, they also reflect a new current in Norwegian design - one that increasingly aspires to create open meeting spaces where people freely can gather. They have transformed previously desolate sites into popular public arenas.

Buildings also reveal the values of a country. I am especially proud to celebrate two projects that in such a thoughtful way highlight these principles of openness and community,

My sincere congratulations to Snøhetta and Helen & Hard. Today your models become a part of a collection here in New York that houses the work of some of the world’s most treasured visionaries of the arts.

Thank you.



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