Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

David Leatherbarrow


Sverre Fehn (1924-2009) was a Norwegian architect who received wide recognition and accolade during his long career, including receipt of the Pritzker Prize in 1997. He is best known for his cast concrete buildings set in dramatic Nordic landscapes, and is commonly connected to discourse concerning regionalism. Fehn’s work, however, is also instructive for better understanding the role of the architectural project in structuring the engagement, sustenance, and dynamism of urbanity. That aspect of Fehn’s work has so far been substantially neglected. This dissertation explores select writings, project proposals, and constructed works in order to plumb Fehn’s thinking in regard of the urban milieu and its relationship to building. The dissertation expands understanding of Fehn’s architecture into the realm of the city, and considers what Fehn’s approaches suggest more generally about the fit between, and the potential of, the architectural project and the essence of urban settings. Primarily focusing on ten of Fehn’s projects, the text explores Fehn’s understanding of how ground, the past, circumstance, dialog, daily life, and theatricality inform urbanity and facilitate its architectural structure.


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