Viking Age Museum

Viking Age Museum Vital Viking Age Museum

Project information

Project contact

Kyrre Sundal

+47 986 15 861

There is hardly any project with stronger historical guidelines than the Viking Museum on Bygdøy. Arnstein Arneberg’s iconic building houses Norway’s perhaps foremost cultural and historical treasures in the form of the Oseberg ship and the Gokstad ship and its artefacts. When the final decision fell and it became clear that the ships could not be moved, the location on Bygdøy was sealed as the cathedral of the nation’s national shrine.

New in old

On this basis, Mad arkitekter along with Various Architects were to create a project which on one side does not seek to compete with the established structures – while we at the same time insisted on creating something independent and strong in character.

The solution was to add a distinctive new building at the rear of Arneberg’s building, so that the access to the museum and the area is remained as it is today, while all the facades are left untouched and the overall appearance remains unchanged.

Clearly distinguished from this, as an independent volume, is our new addition. A distinctive choice of form and a clear signal that the old is old, and the new is brand new.

One wedge, three volumes

The new building consists of three wedge-shaped concrete blocks in two stories, measuring 40-50 meters long and 35-40 meters wide. Each block has an asymmetrical pitched roof, which in its eastern corner cantilevers 15 meters over an audience area.

This constitute a simple and robust museum building that meets all international requirements for safety, fire regulations and ensures great flexibility within the various exhibitions and changes that will be brought further into the museum’s lifespan.

Good circulation, easy flow

The two volumes are connected through an underground link, and the visitor moves through the exhibition in a simple, chronological loop.

The exterior has an easy flow too – not only in the existing park and current infrastructure, but also in the approach to the existing Folk Museum, a neighbouring museum which the Viking Age Museum have no direct contact with today.

The title of the proposal is KNOT, a knot that ties things together. Old and new. Inside and outside. Existing and new. Basic principles underlie a shape that is very simple and self-explanatory while it decomposes in the complexity needed to make such a demanding program like the Viking Age Museum to work optimally as intended.

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