Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled plans for a stunning new kind of art museum that’s so beautiful it looks right at home in a sculpture garden. The proposed hybrid volume mixes elements of architecture, infrastructure, and sculpture to create a twisted “art bridge” that serves as both art gallery and bridge connecting the banks of the Randselva River. The volume will be an extension of the Kistefos Museum that comprises an industry museum, art gallery, and sculpture park in Jevnaker, Norway.
Founded in 1996 on a beautifully forested site, the Kistefos Museum was created on the grounds of a historic wood-pulp mill. The factory and surrounding site have been transformed into an art museum and sculpture garden that houses contemporary works by renowned international artists such as Anish Kapoor and Olafur Eliasson. Although the museum building and sculpture garden are part of Kistefos, the Randselva River that bisects the site interrupts circulation between the areas. In order to solve the circulation issue, BIG proposed making the new building extension into a bridge to connect the site elements into a continuous loop.
BIG added a simple twist to the proposed bridge-like volume, turning it from a horizontal single story on the hillside in the north to a vertically oriented triple-height volume on the south side’s lower forested bank. A glazed strip that runs the length of the interconnected building is also twisted, creating a variety of views and natural lighting conditions, from the southern vertical galleries lit from above to the horizontal open gallery at the north that overlooks views of the old pulp mill. The museum’s southern end will include smaller galleries for media, paintings, and sculpture; an information center; museum shop; and other facilities. The north side will house an open gallery, perfect for sculptures and large installations, as well as a cafe.
“We were instantly fascinated by the dramatic landscape of Kistefos – the winding river, forested riverbanks and the steep topography,” said Bjarke Ingels. “Our proposal for a new Art Museum in Kistefos acts like a second bridge in the Sculpture Park, forming a continuous loop across both riverbanks. The museum visit itself will be a bridge, not a goal – and the exhibits inside an interior extension of the promenade through the Sculpture Park. With the inhabited bridge, we stumbled upon our first experiment with social infrastructure – a building that serves as a bridge – or a cultural institution that serves as a piece of infrastructure.” The glazing is made up of large insulated glass panels with reflect UV film to protect the art and building from solar gain. The non-glazed portions of the exterior are constructed of brushed stainless steel and include integrated electrical solar shading.
Images via Bjarke Ingels Group