On Friday 14 October, HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit laid the foundation stone for the new Munch Museum at Bjørvika in Oslo.
Everything is finally ready for this monument to the art of Edvard Munch to rise from its foundations to become a new landmark in the capital’s cityscape.
“This is a milestone for Oslo and its inhabitants, but also a major event for the rest of Norway and for art lovers around the globe. Oslo is the curator of the world heritage that is Munch’s art and we are now making his work accessible to even more people”, says Governing Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen.
Unique and ambitious
Within the art world, the City of Oslo’s Munch collection is the most important world heritage asset that Oslo as a city and Norway as a nation are tasked with curating.
The new museum will be equipped to house the city’s astonishing Munch collection of some 28,000 works of art. It will also contain the Stenersen, Amaldus Nielsen and Ravensberg collections and have the capacity to accommodate larger international exhibitions.
“The Munch Museum is a unique and ambitious project which forms part of the City of Oslo’s urban development project at Bjørvika. It represents the largest boost to the city’s investment in art in our time”, says Raymond Johansen.
Resting on 300 piles
The groundworks for the new Munch Museum began in autumn 2015. The project had to deal with a construction site with water on three sides, challenging ground conditions and restricted access.
More than 300 piles were drilled below water and through sediment, and anchored into the bedrock. When the new museum opens in December 2019, it will extend as far above the ground as it does below.
The longest piles descend 60 metres under the water into solid rock and, on completion, the distinctive tower will reach 60 metres into the sky.
“The groundworks have been both challenging and exciting. They are now complete and we have reached an important milestone. The work is on track and we are looking forward to starting erecting
this new landmark building for Oslo”, says Eli Grimsby, the construction client and director of the Municipal Undertaking for Cultural and Sports Facilities of the City of Oslo.
The new Munch Museum sets itself apart from most traditional museums in that its primary functions are organised vertically instead of horizontally. The building consists of a 13-storey tower, encircled by a 3-storey podium.
The closed section of the tower, which is also sound-proofed, will house exhibition galleries, stores and conservation rooms. The tower’s open section will contain public thoroughfares and rest areas, along with access to the galleries.
“The closed section of the tower entails strict requirements for security, indoor climate and daylight control. In the open section, the facade is transparent, placing visitors in constant contact with the city and landscape beyond”,
says Eli Grimsby.
The podium houses public areas including the lobby, temporary exhibition spaces, a reading room and a research library.
“The new Munch Museum will be an Oslo landmark in which to experience the greatest Norwegian artist of all time, in a building of supreme architectural quality.
The building will also be an expression of our own time and promote our democratic values. The new museum will be inclusive, inviting and accessible to all”, says Raymond Johansen.
(Photos – Tove Lauluten/ Kultur- og idrettsbygg Oslo KF)