Modern museum for art exhibitions as a river bridge in Norway

A modern museum in Norway designed by Bjarke Ingels Group opened its doors to the public on September 18th. The project is part of “Kistefos”, an industrial museum and sculpture park in Jevnaker. This therefore belongs to a municipality that is 80 kilometers north of Oslo. Fittingly, the architect Bjarke Ingels and his team have designed a sculptural intervention that will host an international program of contemporary art exhibitions entitled “Hodgkin and Creed – Inside Out” until November 17, 2019.

The concept for such a modern museum

minimalist shapes and design buildings in the fog over a river

The new building, selected after an international competition and originally unveiled in 2015, responds to the natural surroundings of the museum. In addition to the sculpture park, the architect has developed a modern museum to improve the general experience of visitors to “Kistefos”. Described by Bjarke Ingels as a “habitable bridge”, the 1,000 square meter building rotates halfway. In this way, it crosses the Randselva River to connect the north and south sides.

rotated sight lines in white interior to the entrance

Access is from both ends of the river bridge. From the south, visitors enter an extraordinary room that is double the height. Above all, this has clear lines of sight that run through the entire building to the north entrance. Conversely, guests arriving from the north enter a panoramic area with a view of the site’s pulp mill and the surrounding landscape. With the project of the inhabited bridge, the architectural office came across its first experiment with social infrastructure. So it’s a building that doubles as a bridge. For this reason, such a modern museum can also combine a cultural institution and a practical infrastructure in one.

bird's view of the new art museum in the wooded area as a habitable bridge

Kistefos was founded in 1996 by the Norwegian businessman and art collector Christen Sveaas on the former site of his family pulp business. He also aims to preserve the region’s buildings and industrial heritage. At the same time, the project celebrates the best of Norwegian and international contemporary art. The sculpture park also already includes works by leading international artists such as Anish Kapoor and Marc Quinn. Yayoi Kusama’s latest site-specific artwork, Shine of Life, was also unveiled in May 2019. Accordingly, it is inspired by nature, water and industry at Kistefos.

Impressive structure and shapes

bjarke ingels architect the twist museum bridge from a bird's eye view

So The Twist was built around a historic pulp mill and is designed as a beam warped 90 degrees in the middle to create a sculptural shape that spans the Randselva River. Visitors wandering through the site-specific works of the park visit international artists such as Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, Lynda Benglis Yayoi Kusama, Jeppe Hein and Fernando Botero to complete the art tour. As a second bridge and natural extension of the park, such a modern museum primarily transforms the visitor experience and doubles the exhibition area of ​​Kistefos.

the randselva river runs under a modern museum with a twisted structure

By simply changing the volume of the building, the bridge can be raised from the lower wooded river bank in the south to the slope in the north. As a continuous path in the landscape, both sides of the building serve as the main entrance. From the south entrance, visitors cross a 16 m long, aluminum-clad steel bridge to get into the double-height room with an unobstructed view of the north end, which is also connected to a 9 m long pedestrian bridge.

upward twisted aluminum structure from building for exhibition with glass windows

The museum’s double-curved geometry consists of straight, 40 cm wide aluminum panels that are arranged like a stack of books and shift slightly in a fan movement. The architects also use the same principle inside the room. White-painted, 8 cm wide wooden slats cover the floor, the wall and the ceiling as a uniform backdrop for the short-term Norwegian and international exhibitions by Kistefos from both directions.

Futuristic design for modern museum

woman looks out the window in the interior of the museum the twist

At the north end is a floor-to-ceiling glass wall with a panoramic view of the pulp mill and the river to the top. This also forms a 25 cm wide roof window strip. The curved shape of the glass windows creates three unmistakable galleries from the diversity of daylight. The first is a wide, naturally-lit gallery with a panoramic view of the north side. The second is a high, dark gallery with artificial light on the south side, while in between there is a sculptural space with a twisted piece of roof light.

twisted interior in white designed for a modern museum twist in norway

The ability to subdivide, divide or merge the gallery space also creates flexibility for Kistefo’s artistic program for this reason. A glass staircase also leads to the lower level of the museum on the north bank, where the aluminum underside of the building becomes the ceiling of the cellar and toilet area.

the twist modern museum for art exhibition in norwegian walt as a river bridge

After many years of planning and development, Christen Sveaas is excited to open this beautiful new space. This has enabled the community to expand its work with leading contemporary artists. This enabled the hosts to welcome more visitors than ever before. So the aim is to make Kistefos an indispensable cultural destination with a first-class program for temporary exhibitions in the sculpture park. Above all, this will be able to complement the rich industrial heritage of the place.

*Architects website

futuristic design in the middle of the forest between two banks of the river

twist floor plan for a modern museum near oslo3d plan and floor plan for a modern museum near oslo