UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Architect Elaine Molinar will present "Habitats: In the Studio and Beyond," from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, in the Stuckeman Jury Space in the Stuckeman Building on the University Park campus.
Molinar is Snøhetta’s managing partner. Having been with the architectural firm since the very beginning, she has worked on the Alexandria Library, the Oslo Opera House, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and was one of the key people in setting up Snøhetta’s practice in New York City. It has been a 30-year journey with the firm.
Like many other people who became architects, she always had a wide variety of interests and started drawing and building things from an early age. Her father also did woodwork as a hobby and she often helped him as a child. When it was time for college, she had no idea what she wanted to do — she wasn’t aware of any profession that would capture all of her interests. At university she took a technical drawing class, and the architect who taught the class suggested she try architecture. She transferred into the architecture program at University of Texas at Austin, and completed the 5-year professional degree.
Snøhetta’s two founding partners, one American and one Norwegian, decided to form a team to enter the Alexandria Library competition, and as fate would have it, Molinar joined the team. It was a large, international competition and over 500 anonymous entries were judged. With clarity, specificity and a starkly simple presentation, they won first prize. It was from this project that their current studio and practice evolved to define their work today.