Oslo National Museum

Oslo, Norway
conceptual - 2009
National Gallery of the Arts

Oslo National Museum

The consolidation of the National Gallery, Museum of Decorative Arts & Design, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Architecture, and the National Touring Exhibitions is an act of cultural renewal. The decision to collect these institutions and deploy them in one place has the potential to create a heterogeneous and vibrant center for the arts that nurtures the cultural as well as the social fabric of Norway. In order to leverage this sense of renewal and transformation, this design proposal is based in the manifold meanings of the term spring. Just as the coming of spring each year signals an environment poised to emerge from a condition of stasis into an explosive period of growth and renewal, we have approached the design of this project as an opportunity to facilitate two key acts of renewal, or transformation. This notion of renewal instigates a design that is emergent, one that is not bound by the physical limits of the site. Renewal promotes a spatial condition that is open, flowing, extending, releasing, springing out into the city, engaging Oslo and its residents. 

The design completes the strong field of building mass that runs along Aker Brygge, healing a major void in the urban gridiron. The design also folds the space and activities contained in Radhusplassen by transitioning from a level hardscape to a gently sloping landscaped plane and sculpture garden. This sloping garden is carved away along the edge of Brynjulf Bulls Plass in order to frame the heritage structures that sit at the edge of the site. This act simultaneously establishes a sense of deference for the buildings while also incorporating them into the complex as elements on display in the sculpture garden. 

Finally, the design incorporates the intense qualities of movement and exchange that characterize the fjord edge along Aker Brygge and Radhusplassen. Movement and exchange are key principles that inform the public spaces of the complex and promote an active social realm. The open green space at the center of the site also reinforces the Fjord’s role as a lung for the city by allowing people to emerge from the rigid spaces of the city into an expansive place that provides a sense of relief and and opportunity for recreation, both of which allow for renewal of mind and body. 

Oslo - view 103 - 3000x3000_entourage_flat

If the Fjord is Oslo’s lung, we have imagined the National Gallery complex as Oslo’s cultural and social heart. To reinforce the sense of interweaving between the art and spectators as well as between the Museum and city, we have envisioned the site not merely as a building project, but as an extended landscape that folds three distinct environments together into a spatial system that blurs the lines between urbanity, architecture and the natural environment. We have conceptualized the site as a sanctuary that collapses these varied environments into a dense and dynamic place that makes references to the phenomenal and contextual qualities of Oslo, but as the same time creates and altogether distinct place that celebrates emergence, renewal and exchange, establishing a place that celebrates the potential and energy of spring, creating a place that is truly unique and memorable.