OSLO – On Oslo's southwest coast, a contemporary art museum has converted a formerly closed harbor into a new public arena.
The striking structure is part of a familiar and bold strategy by practice Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Three different buildings are connected under a unified, curved glass roof. Tapered at different points, the cover connects the design's most distinct areas. Resting under one is a small sculpture park - isolated on its own island - while the other two exclusively enclose the art museum.
Artificial canals and bridges separate and connect the buildings, promoting the nautical aesthetic already present on-site. A long promenade reinforces the sea-side location, creating a visual link between the coast and building. The sculptural park leads visitors to the sandy beach ahead, intersected by other small public programmes along the way, including a café.
The building is constructed from naturally-weathered timber, concrete and glass. Although simple, the material properties create stunning design features, which also bolster the Scandinavian vernacular.
The entire glass roof is supported by wood beams and slender, steel columns. White ceramic frits cover the roof, along with a dotted pattern that reduces the glass' transparency by 40 per cent in some areas. The play of transparencies is experienced in the internal spaces, where the four-storey office, atrium and lobby spaces are punctured with large skylights to create even more light.
Photos courtesy of Nic Lehoux