Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen, experts in sustainable and site-specific modern Scandinavian architecture, has released plans for a luminous waterfront museum in Tromsø, Norway. Among the top design considerations Henning Larsen faced when conceiving the Arctic Museum of Norway in the surprisingly mild city of Tromsø—the third largest city located north of the Arctic Circle—were: Seamlessly integrating the structure into the rugged surrounding landscape, respecting and reflecting the rich local cultural heritage, and artfully displaying the skeleton of a very large blue whale. Suspended from the ceiling of the site's largest exhibition hall, said whale skeleton will be the main, impossible-to-miss archaeological attraction at the Arctic Museum of Norway. The breadth of the museum’s collection, however, will be quite extensive, as it combines Tromsø University’s cultural artifacts and natural history archives. Both of these collections are currently held separately in different buildings and have outgrown them. The museum is expected to be one of the largest cultural institutions north of the Arctic Circle when it opens. (Construction is expected to commence in 2023.) As a press release explains, the new museum, located a short walk from the city center down a sloping hill, will “be an anchorpoint in a new cultural path in Tromsø.” This “cultural path” will dead-end at the harbor-hugging museum in an attempt to reactivate Tromsø’s scenic but largely overlooked waterfront. “Despite being such a visible presence in the city, Tromsø’s waterfront is largely absent from the public realm,” said Henning Larsen partner Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen in a statement. “The museum, with its focus on the natural and cultural history of Norway’s northernmost areas including the Arctic, and its cascading site, makes a first move back down to its shores to celebrate the region's history.” Similar to other Henning Larsen projects, the Arctic Museum of Norway will be hyper site-sensitive. Wedged into a rolling hillside just above the shoreline, the museum will be composed of a quartet of freestanding but snugly situated slate-base buildings, each topped with “translucent masses whose facades are composed of cassette-like modules that can be individually maintained and replaced.” “Opaque and milky in the daylight, they transform into a cluster of glowing beacons on the waterfront at night,” wrote Henning Larsen. “These delicate, glowing masses atop the slate base reference the indigenous Saami’s lávvu homes, whose canvas walls radiate light on the frozen winter earth.” According to the firm, the “landscape is not just part of the site but part of the exhibitions” and doubles as a highly publicly accessible gathering spot, where various features, including a tiered seating area directly adjacent to a small beach and promenade, invite locals and visitors alike to relax and socialize. “The landscape will be open to visitors and maintained throughout the year, offering a calendric view of the area’s natural heritage. Connection to the landscape, both in geography and in flora, is at the backbone of the design, with outdoor paths doubling as botanical passages and courtyards serving as pocket parks. The parkland around the site offers space for experimentation, study, and discovery and acts as public demonstration for the expertise housed within the museum itself.” Henning Larsen has designed numerous cultural institutions and museums across Scandinavia including the Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus, Denmark. This, however, is the firm’s first project of any kind in Tromsø.
Posts tagged with "Norway":
Brought to you with support fromConstructed in the heart of Bodø, Norway, a new town hall designed by Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde (ALL) delivers a contemporary interpretation of masonry to weave together an integrated civic center. ALL was awarded the 130,000-square-foot project following an international competition in 2013 and opened the renewed town hall in 2019. The result is a compelling gesture of shifting mass according to the architectural era; a forceful intervention softened by deftly planned facade planes and details. Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Bodø is the largest metropolitan center in Nordland county, a sparsely populated region geographically defined by numerous fjords and fjells. The bulk of the town’s architectural stock dates from after the Second World War—its status as an Allied harbor led to significant destruction by the Luftwaffe. However, the preexisting town hall and adjacent bank building, built in the austere style of Nordic Classicism, survived the war and served at the primary point of reference for ALL’s intervention.
After several years of delay, officials have announced that they will begin razing a 51-year-old governmental office building in Oslo near the site of a 2011 car bombing that rocked the Norwegian capital’s Regjeringskvartalet district. The demolition of a office block that stands as a painful reminder of a horrific domestic terrorist attack—the worst in modern Norwegian history—may not seem, at first thought, to be an immediate cause for controversy. But the building is a significant one, a “monument of European importance,” per British preservation group Twentieth Century Society (C20). Dubbed Y-Block, the striking 1969 designed structure, designed by modernist architect Erling Viksjø, features two murals by Pablo Picasso sandblasted onto its concrete walls—a first for the Spanish painter and sculptor in this medium. One is a monumental relief named The Fisherman that graces the building’s facade facing the bustling street Akersgata. A second smaller work, The Seagull, is located in the lobby. Demolition-ready government officials have vowed to save and relocate the murals, which were executed by Picasso’s frequent collaborator, the Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar. Preservationists near and far, however, are crying foul. They believe that the building itself should also be spared from the wrecking ball. The planned demolition has effectively been at a standstill since 2014 due to a series of postponements as the powers that be and preservationists hold their respective grounds. However, as Agence-France Press (AFP) reports, a request to enact another postponement was dismissed by the Norwegian government last week. Officials “argued that further delays would lead to financial cost as well as the postponement of the reconstruction project which has already been decided.” “The whole idea of the area is precisely that the art is incorporated into the body of the building,” Mari Hvattum, a professor of architectural history and theory at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, told the New York Times in a 2017 story about the push to preserve the building in its entirety. Calling Y-Block “an architecture with just astonishing qualities,” Hvattum equated separating the murals from the building to removing a painting displayed in a museum from its frame. “A completely atrocious idea,” she said in 2017. Those rallying against the demolition of Y-Block also believe that leveling the building, which would be replaced with a new governmental complex incorporating Picasso’s murals, would be finishing the job, so to speak, for Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing extremist behind the 2011 attack. “We don’t want the ministry to tear down the building when the terrorist didn’t manage to do that,” Janne Wilberg, the city of Oslo’s director of cultural heritage, told the Times. “Breivik wanted to attack social democracy,” elaborated Hvattum. “He wanted to get rid of the legacy of social democracy in built form, and in living form, in terms of people. To tear this down is to complete his [Breivik’s] mission.” Just a month prior to the attack, it was announced that the Y-Block and the High Rise Block, or H-Block, an adjacent 1958 building also designed by Viksjø and boasting three small interior murals by Picasso and Nesjar, were to be listed as national heritage monuments. That process was halted. Formal plans to demolish Y-Block—but carefully salvage its Picasso murals—as part of a larger reconstruction effort at Regjeringskvartalet were first announced by the Norwegian government three years after the attack. This was met with fierce opposition. (The idea was initially floated the previous year, 2013, and received a similarly heated response from preservationists and divided the general public.) Norwegian officials, as they continue to do, cited security concerns and the steep financial burden associated with allowing the unoccupied building to stand. In a statement announcing the recent decision to move ahead with the demolition, it was revealed that Statsbygg, the agency charged with overseeing the Norwegian government’s real estate assets, had been handed the “assignment to start preparation work for the demolition of the Y-Block.” A firm date for the demolition has not been announced. Unlike the Y-Block, officials have promised to spare the H-Block and eventually restore it. It too sustained light, non-structural damage in the 2011 attack although it has since been partially repopulated. In 2015, heritage organization Europa Nostra placed Y-Block’s murals on a shortlist of Europe’s seven most endangered artworks. While Picasso and Nesjar collaborated on numerous other projects together across the world, most are freestanding sculptures as noted by C20, which believes that removing the murals at Y-Block would be “detrimental to the artistic integrity of the work.’ The duo completed two other innovative concrete murals outside of Oslo but only "The Fisherman" and a mural at the Official College of Architects of Catalonia in Barcelona are viewable by the public. “The Highrise and The Y-block constitute a unified whole, where the buildings mutually enhance each other, and create an interesting space between them,” wrote C20 in 2016. “Both exteriors and interiors have walls made from sandblasted concrete with river gravel, a poetic local variation of the brutalist architecture of the time. The Y-block’s iconic shape, combined with the pioneering use of concrete and Picasso’s art, make it a building of exceptional value.” More recently, Europa Nostra has backed efforts to save Y-Block itself, placing the building on the shortlist for the 2020 edition of its “7 Most Endangered” program. “At a time when climate concerns are causing all of us to question how we can reduce our environmental impact, demolishing a perfectly sound building would be a waste of carbon in the energy consumed in demolition and in lost materials,” said Graham Bell, a member of Europa Nostra’s board and the 7 Most Endangered Advisory Panel, in a statement. The Picasso Administration, the organization that oversees the artist's vast legacy, was also initially skeptical of the decision to relocate the murals but has reportedly since softened its stance according to the Times. “The Y-block is now, more than ever, a symbol for humankind and democracy,” reads a 2019 petition launched to save the building. “If it is taken away, a part of the history will be lost that cannot be replaced or withdrawn.”
Svalbard, one of the northernmost and faraway inhabited bodies of land in the world, has become an unlikely architectural destination in recent years. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, a bunker buried deep within the permafrost to protect nearly one million seed species in the event of global catastrophe, was not intended as a tourist attraction when it was first completed by Snøhetta in 2008. Yet, because its mission and dramatically-designed entranceway have caught global attention, Snøhetta was recently called upon once again to design The Arc, a visitors’ center for the building often described as a life raft for biodiversity. The two buildings constituting The Arc have distinctly opposing aesthetic relationships to the surrounding landscape. The entrance building will be a low-slung, modestly proportioned boxy structure clad with mirrors to blend into the surroundings, and will contain basic visitor functions and a cafe. The exhibition hall, on the other hand, will be set within a monolithic, silo-like tower that will make its presence felt from great distances. The tower's striated exterior texture is designed to resemble layers of earth after excavation, recalling the lengths taken to protect the seeds in the nearby vault. The exhibition hall will contain a digital archive detailing the contents of the vault, an auditorium, and a “ceremony room” (set a few degrees warmer than the other rooms, which will house a deciduous tree like those that once commonly grew in Svalbard over 56 million years ago. According to Snøhetta, the tree “is both a symbol of the past and a call to action—a living icon for global warming and our responsibility to preserve the Arctic, and all of nature, for future generations.” Visitors will transition from the first space to the second via a glass-enclosed bridge that will frame views of the landscape while simulating “the experience of going from a familiar entrance into a real vault inside the permafrost of Svalbard,” according to the architects. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed by 2022.
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)-designed “The Twist” has opened in Jevnaker, Norway, bridging a 10,700-square-foot art museum across two riverbanks in northern Europe’s largest sculpture park. The project was first announced in 2011, and while this isn’t the first time BIG has put a twist on the traditional building massing, it’s certainly their most daring entry into the genre. The Twist is now the second bridge in the Kistefos Sculpture Park and doubles the amount of indoor exhibition space available to the institution. Both sides of the building, from the vertically oriented, double-height portion to the south, to the horizontal passage to the north, serve as main entrances. Both are accessible through pedestrian bridges that wend up through the woods to their respective sides of the river, with The Twist serving to connect them into one circuitous loop through the sculpture park. Design-wise, BIG opted to create a visual homogeny between the museum’s interior and exterior. Outside, the building is sheathed in long, 15-inch-wide, staggered aluminum panels, while the interior is clad in 3-inch-wide fir slats painted white on the walls, floor, and ceiling—making the transition as one rotates into another seamless. At the center, as the building begins its 90-degree twist, a nascent skylight “unzips” and turns with the rest of the building to form floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a panoramic view of the river The Twist sits over. “The Twist is a hybrid spanning several traditional categories: it’s a museum, it’s a bridge, it’s an inhabitable sculpture,” said Bjarke Ingels in a press release. “As a bridge it reconfigures the sculpture park turning the journey through the park into a continuous loop. As a museum it connects two distinct spaces–an introverted vertical gallery and an extraverted horizontal gallery with panoramic views across the river. A third space is created through the blatant translation between these two galleries creating the namesake twist. The resultant form becomes another sculpture among the sculptures of the park.” The massing of the building naturally delineates it into three different gallery sections. The tall portion, with no natural light, the sculptural middle where the building is mid-twist, and the daylight-lit flatter portion at the north. Visitors can descend beneath the northern horizontal section to access the museum’s basement and bathrooms, bringing them level with the river. Such a complicated project necessitated a great amount of collaboration, and BIG cites “Element Arkitekter, AKT II, Rambøll, Bladt Industries, Max Fordham and Davis Langdon” as their partners in realizing The Twist.
A Nordic structure has claimed the title of world’s tallest timber building. Mjøstårnet by Voll Arkitekter is a 280-foot-tall tower in Brumunddal, Norway, constructed entirely out of cross-laminated timber. It’s the third tallest building in the country and features 18 stories of office space, apartments, a hotel, a ground-floor restaurant, and an adjoining public bath. Designed like a monumental wooden box planted atop Brumunddal’s open, lakeside landscape, Mjøstårnet stands as a symbol of the “green shift.” It’s all wood—even it’s elevators are built from CLT and its large-scale interior trusses, as well as the structural columns, are glulam. The architects used local-sourced materials crafted from local suppliers to build the soaring structure, which features a series of wooden fins on its western facade and an open-air rooftop with a sculptural timber topper. Scandinavian company Moelven Limtre, owner of 17 sawmills in Norway and Sweden, supplied the wood and served as the Mjøstårnet’s structural engineer. The mixed-use project is owned by AB Invest, a Jordanian investment group, and beats out Brock Commons at the University of British Columbia by 90 feet. Though the Vancouver-based student housing project also stretches 18 stories high and is actually larger than Mjøstårnet in overall square feet, the Nordic building bests it in height. Last week, 3XN released renderings for what will soon become North America’s tallest mass timber office building, T3 Bayside. Imagined for Toronto’s burgeoning waterfront community, it’s slated to rise just 138 feet.
Europe’s first underwater restaurant is complete and now welcoming guests below the North Sea in Lindesnes, Norway. The Snøhetta-designed “Under” lies partially submerged on the coast of southern Norway, terminating in a dining room 16 feet below the ocean’s surface. The restaurant and marine biology research station is wrapped in thick concrete for its entire length, creating an imposing, 111-foot-long “periscope.” The concrete at the lowest portion is one-and-a-half feet thick feet and surrounds a 36-foot-long, 11-foot-tall window wall in the dining room that provides guests with a view of the ocean floor. The structure’s finish was kept deliberately coarse to encourage mussels to anchor to the building, so that the structure will eventually grow into a reef and purify the surrounding water. Construction on the concrete monolith was done on a barge off-shore before the structure was lifted to its final home and tilted into place. Inside, Snøhetta chose to utilize materials that intentionally emphasize the transition from Lindesnes’s harsh environment to the dreamy marine world below. The oak-wrapped entrance gives way to ceiling panels clad in textile that gradually change color, which Snøhetta claims is “a metaphor for the journey of descending from land to sea.” Speckled terrazzo floors reference the mottled sea floor visible from the dining area. Under is expected to welcome 35-to-40 diners every evening, but when not in use as a restaurant, the building will act as a hub for studying the local marine life. The sea around Lindesnes is extremely biodiverse, and researchers will use an array of cameras and sensors mounted on the facade to document the population and behavior of local fish. That information will in part be used by the kitchen to help determine how to sustainably harvest sea life from the surrounding area. Interested in dining underwater and don’t mind a trip to Norway? Under is now taking reservations.
Brought to you with support fromIn 2015, the Norwegian Trekking Association announced a decision to construct two warming huts along the mountains that ring the town of Hammerfest to encourage hiking for both residents and tourists. The project brief called for a straightforward structure with a working wood-burning stove, an excellent view of the surrounding landscape, and suitability for the mountainous terrain. Norwegian-based practice SPINN Arkitekter and Britain’s Format Engineers answered this call with a cross-laminated timber shell with exterior Kebony panels.
Rhino Kangaroo and Grasshopper files, the team was able to craft a series of visual models for the project and a series of components that could be easily transported across the mountainous terrain for erection. "Snow simulations were performed to ensure that the entrance will remain snow-free as intended," said the design team. "Structural forces between the panels were determined to specify the correct type of screws and fasteners for the construction. Additionally, 3-D printing was used extensively to test out how the construction would fit together, and to test cladding options for the exterior." The rock-like cabins effectively consist of three layers: a 3-inch-thick CLT shell, a 1/8-inch-thick membrane, and a Kebony skin with a thickness measuring just under 1 inch. A system of frames and blocks are located between the exterior cladding and the CLT core. Two sets of 3.5-inch-thick screws are found on each tile edge, connecting to adjacent tiles and the overall structure. An initial prototype of the $100,000 cabin was constructed in a controlled warehouse environment to allow for the uninterrupted testing of component assembly. Over the course of four workdays, two groups of volunteers assembled the cabin's shell and cut the cladding panels. Following construction, the cabin was split in two and transported via flatbed truck to the site and craned into position for final assembly. Construction of the second cabin is currently in the works.One of the initial challenges of the project was to design a form that both blended in with the rugged setting and endure the harsh mountainous weather conditions. The first step in addressing these conditions called for the 3-D mapping of the two sites with a drone and photogrammetry software. With this territorial information plugged into
A $47 billion proposal to link together Norway’s wild western coastline is the nation’s largest and toughest infrastructure project yet, according to NPR. The project's new highway would connect Oslo in the southeast to the coastal cities of Bergen, Stavanger, Alesund, and Trondheim, replacing numerous ferries with tunnels and bridges. But because of challenging geography, architects and civil engineers have been forced to develop new and inventive ideas to complete the route. After decades of building roads all over the country, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) understands the nation's waterways, full of endless mazes of fjords and lakes, were not designed to be conquered by the automobile. And with its freezing weather and rugged mountain soil, only a select especially acclimated number of people inhabit this area of Scandinavia—a number that decreases yearly. Most attribute depopulation in these areas to a lack of accessibility. All local road transportation relies on small highways that crisscross the region’s valleys, and the only way to navigate past most waterways is by ferry, which can take upwards of 45 minutes each; in some areas, driving to the neighboring city can require three ferry trips. Mayor Martin Kleppe of Tysnes, a region of rural municipalities located on an archipelago off the coast, told NPR that, "The ferry is a beautiful trip, but it's more an obstacle than a good connection." Tysnes's population has decreased by 50 percent over the last century, a decline the project is meant to counter. But where there's a challenge, there's a solution. The renderings and video released by the NPRA for the project depict some grand ideas—suspension bridges, tunnels, underground junctions—to link all waterways, connect remote island towns, and drastically improve accessibility to the region from the rest of Scandinavia. If completed, the project would contain a number of record-breaking engineering marvels: the suspension bridge at Sognefjord, for example, would have 1,500-foot-high towers and its 12,100-foot-long span would dwarf even the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and the Millau Viaduct. But it is not all figured out quite yet. The NPRA's greatest challenge is at the Sula fjord, the deepest and the widest of them all, and an important shipping route. To cross the 3 miles of water while leaving the 66-foot-high clearance for boats to pass, engineers stand with two likely proposals. The first is a rather awkward three-tower suspension bridge. The two exterior towers would be placed on land, the center tower being anchored to the seafloor. The second proposal is the first of its kind in the world: a submerged tunnel tethered not to the seabed below, but above to floating pontoons. While many other underwater tunnels already connect vast waterways—those of Chesapeake Bay, from Copenhagen to Malmö, and Hong Kong to Macau, for instance—one that floats could open new doors in the civil engineering world. A project of this magnitude is going to not only make a massive mark on Norway’s majestic landscape and make life easier for its residents, but it will also open the area to the rest of the world. This endeavor may put the global spotlight on the far north.
Snøhetta has recently finished work on a pair of cabins for healing in the Norwegian woods. The Outdoor Care Retreats, as the structures are known, are connected to local hospitals and are places where patients dealing with long-term illnesses can go to relax in natural settings. In a statement, child psychologist Maren Østvold Lindheim at the Oslo University Hospital said, "Nature provides spontaneous joy and helps patients relax. Being in natural surroundings brings them a renewed calm that they can bring back with them into the hospital. In this sense, the Outdoor Care Retreat helps motivate patients to get through treatment and contribute to better disease management." The cabins each provide about 375 square feet for patients to sit, recline, receive treatments, and relax. Interiors are clad in oak paneling and have large operable windows meant to create a strong connection to nature. The Friluftssykehuset Kristiansand, located near the Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand, is shown in the above images. The other cabin, the Friluftssykehuset Rikshospitale, is close to the Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet.
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and Norway-based A-Lab have been chosen to design the new Fornbuporten and Fornebu Senter metro stations in Oslo, Norway. Aside from being Norway's capital, Oslo is known for its innovative architecture, like Snøhetta's award-winning Oslo Opera House, and rich past as a gateway for shipping and maritime trade in Europe. The Fornebubanen metro line and its accompanying stations will only add to Oslo’s cultural appeal, serving as a vital new mode of public transit and connecting up-and-coming neighborhoods to the city center. The five-mile-long Fornebubanen metro line will run through an underground tunnel and connect to six stations, two of which will be designed by ZHA. Those two stations are intended to reflect Norway’s breathtaking landscape—characterized by hilly islands, rocky glaciers, and northern lights. At the Fornebu Senter station, buildings will be carved to resemble mountains and fjords, their canyon-like curves directing the flow of commuters to and from the street. The Fornbuporten station will contain two public spaces designed to geometrically mimic the dramatic landscape of Norway, including an oval canopy and civic park to the north and a layered, orthogonal pavilion to the south. Both stations will be flooded with moody, celestial lighting that varies depending on the time of day, symbolizing the mutable Oslo sky while uplifting passengers’ spirits. According to ZHA, it will take only 12 minutes to travel to the city center once all six stations are completed. The construction of the Fornebubanen metro line will be one of Oslo’s most impressive undertakings, revolutionizing the city and bringing communities together. Construction will likely begin in 2020 and top out by 2025.
Snøhetta's 'death house' has, well, died. Norwegian newspaper The Local reported that the Oslo city council recently voted to block the controversial house because it was too close to Edvard Munch's historic studio. The house had been designed for Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, who is no stranger to controversy. His works have been described as racist and misogynist, and he has drawn accusations of promoting pedophilia for depicting semi-naked young boys. The house, officially titled A House to Die In, was the result of a collaboration between Melgaard and the Norwegian firm and was intended to be part-sculpture, part-home for the artist and his parents. The team attempted to translate the artist's work into building form for the project. Much like Melgaard's work, the structure was visually jarring and contained a mashup of various forms. An angular mass that was intended to have been clad in charred wood would have rested atop a series of white biomorphic columns. According to The Local, the city councilors did not object to the form so much as the fact that the building would have taken over formerly open public space. “We want the site where the death house was intended to be placed to remain a green area for the benefit of the local population, and we encourage Bjarne to find a new site for the project," they said.