Oslo, Norway


The design for the new Munch + Stenersen Museum will be an icon ‘of the water’ – a new national symbol. The programmatic organization of the Museum exploits land, water, and the in-between to create a rich experience for visitors and a clear functional logic for museum staff. For the public arriving from the north, an all-glass ground floor museum café-bookstore opens out onto the beach to catalyze its social life outside while promoting a library-like atmosphere for lingering and reading within.

Visitors to the museum proceed along its sheltered public walk at the water’s edge, descending a gentle grand stair with overlooks into the Lecture Hall / Event Space. Arriving in the sub-aquatic hall, visitors have pre-admission access to the education center, children’s play area, and general information. From this hall, patrons continue through ticketing and coat check into the museum galleries. Ascending to the art experience, the gallery structure cranes towards the fjord to the south, providing visitors with alternating views of the sea and the city while circulating through the building. The circulation path culminates in a spectacular framed view of the islands in the fjord from the uppermost gallery and a panoramic view back to Oslo from the roof garden. Museum visitors will enter the building on land, then dip underwater for ticketing and guest service functions before ascending the galleries by stair or elevator. This sequence bypasses the public space at the water’s edge while still offering glimpses of the water along the way.

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