Each material has its own shadow. The shadow of stone is not the same as that of brittle autumn leaf. The shadow penetrates the material and radiates its message. You converse with material through the pores of your skin, your ears, and your eyes. The dialogue does not stop at the surface, as its scent fills the air. Through touch, you exchange heat, and the material gives an immediate response. Speak to a stone and it gives resonance’s mystic. Speak to a mountain ledge, and it gives sound a mirror. Listen to a snow-covered forest, and it offers the language of silence. The great master in the use of wood as a material is a musical instrument maker. His ear gives each piece its dimension.
Human are not rational and logical—they are full or surprises, bizarre dreams, poetry, lies, and humor. Architecture must supply answer and create a dialogue with the people around it.
Cities have the strangeness, fear, the grand urban architecture, density, symbols, the difference between architecture and culture. And most of all, the city possesses a calmness. Out in the country it is never calm. There are fields to be tended, cows to be milked, chickens to be fed, but the city possesses a great calm and a sense of waiting, the city is a waiting room, the soldier that waits for his girlfriend, the sailor that waits for the arrival of the ship. Compared to this, nature is one great prison, and as a child I experienced nature itself confined in a prison.
Structure is my mode of expression, a language. It is like a poet who must weed out excesses to reveal the essence.
by Sverre Fehn