Moxon Logo

Client / Statsbygg
Budget / N/A
Stage / International Competition 2009

This project, for the new National Museum in Oslo, called for a coherent and legible response to a highly complex and detailed brief. The museum is to house a wide range of exhibits, from art works to historic and archeological pieces. In addition the site, facing Oslo harbour, was both highly prominent and contextually sensitive with an existing listed structure forming the immediate boundary on the waterfront.

The organisational concept for this proposal is for a collection of volumes with minimal articulation containing all the required service and storage functions. These volumes are held in counterpoint to a diffuse and articulated ‘quilt’ of porcelain that forms the envelope to the public galleries.

Public program is located between the service volumes, with galleries draped through the building to provide a varied sequence of exhibition spaces. The public areas exist on top, below, and in between the service volumes, with a simple circulation pattern of vertical cores and flexible floorplates. The position of galleries throughout this formal environment results in a rich composition of light, dark, expansive and confined spaces, suitable for a wide range of exhibition requirements.

The mass of the service volumes is coupled with the relative delicacy of the quilt that is arranged to modulate natural light levels and complete the architectural form of the building. The layered quilt intersects with the massive service volumes in the manner of a cloud interacting with natural topography – concealing and revealing form and space.

Comprised of thousands of suspended pieces of transluscent porcelain, the quilt modulates natural and artificial light for the galleries. By varying the depth and density of elements, light levels are defined for the public areas of the building. Denser accumulations of longer fins result in dimmer, more evenly lit spaces; whilst open or dispersed areas of shorter fins permit brighter and less diffuse sunlight to entrance and non–gallery spaces.