Kjetil Trædal Thorsen was born in the Norwegian city of Haugesund and spent most of his childhood on the neighbouring coastal island of Karmøy. He graduated as Dipl. Ing. Architect in Graz, Austria in 1985. The year after he cofounded the first Norwegian Gallery for architecture, Gallery ROM.
In 1989 he cofounded the multidisciplinary architectural practice Snøhetta. Since the creation of Snøhetta, he has been instrumental in the projects developed by the practice. He is a frequent lecturer internationally and from 2004 to 2008 he was professor of architecture at the Institute of Experimental Architecture at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
He has received numerous prizes, with Snøhetta as well as individually, including amongst others: Mies van de Rohe Prize -the Opera and Ballet in Oslo in 2009, Aga Khan Award for Architecture -Alexandria Library in 2004, Commander of The Royal Norwegian Order of St.Olav in 2008, RIBA International Fellowship Honour , Honorary Doctor NTNU, Norway and Honorary Member of the Norwegian Architects Association (NAL) in 2011.
Formed in 1989, Snøhetta is an award-winning international architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture and graphic design firm based in Oslo, Norway and New York City.
Snøhetta, which is named after one of Norway’s highest mountain peaks, has approximately 120 staff members working on projects in Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada.
The practice is centered on a transdisciplinary approach where multiple professions work together to explore differing perspectives on the conditions for each project. A respect for diverse backgrounds and cultures is a key feature of the practice; reflecting this value, Snøhetta is composed of designers and professionals from around the world. Snøhetta has developed a reputation for maintaining a strong relationship between landscape and architecture in all of its projects. The site and context of each project is considered unique and provides a strong point of departure for the design.
In 2004 the company received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and in 2009 it was honored with the Mies van der Rohe Award. The World Architecture Award, best Cultural Building 2009, and European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2010, both for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.
Current projects include amongst others the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center site, New York; Kulturväven in Umeå, the Visitor Center for the Lascaux IV Caves in Montignac-Lascaux, France; the Mutrah Fish Market in Muscat, Oman; the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; construction of the public spaces in and around New York City’s Times Square, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on the expansion of the acclaimed museum.