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Steven Holl New Museums

By:  | December - 9 - 2009

Knut Hamsun Center
Hamarøy, Norway


Perspective - © Ernst Furuhatt

Perspective - © Ernst Furuhatt


The Knut Hamsun Center, located in Hamarøy, Norway and designed by Steven Holl Architects, will open to the public on August 4, 2009 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Knut Hamsun’s birth. Dedicated to Norway’s most inventive twentieth-century writer and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the 2700 square-meter center is located above the Arctic Circle by the village of Presteid of Hamarøy, near the farm where Hamsun grew up. The building includes exhibition areas, a library and reading room, a café, and an auditorium for museum and community use.

Influenced by Hamsun’s explorations of the intricacies of the human mind, the building is conceived as an archetypal and intensified compression of spirit in space and light, and as the realization of a Hamsun character in architectonic terms. Inspired by passages of Hamsun’s texts, there is an “empty violin case” deck, while a viewing balcony is like the “girl with sleeves rolled up polishing yellow panes. “The concept for the museum, “Building as a Body: Battleground of Invisible Forces,” is realized from both inside and out. The wood exterior is punctuated by hidden impulses piercing through the surface. The spine of the building body, constructed from perforated brass, is the central elevator. The board form concrete structure with stained white interiors is illuminated by diagonal rays of sunlight calculated to ricochet through the section on certain days of the year.


Models - © Steven Holl Architects

Models - © Steven Holl Architects


Watercolor - © Steven Holl

Watercolor - © Steven Holl


Watercolor - © Steven Holl

Watercolor - © Steven Holl


The tarred black wood exterior skin alludes to Norwegian Medieval wooden stave churches, and in the roof garden, long chutes of bamboo refer to traditional Norwegian sod roofs. Designed in 1994, the building has survived Norwegian controversy with over 300 local articles. In 2005, the original design was reinstated with the support and dedication of Alf Einar Øien and Aaslaug Vaa and in close collaboration with Oslo-based LY Arkitekter. The realized building embodies all the original design concepts and includes the addition of a community auditorium. The auditorium is connected to the main building via a passageway accessed through the lower lobby, which takes advantage of the natural topography, allowing for natural light along the circulation route.

 

Herning Museum of Contemporary Art
Herning, Denmark

The Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by Steven Holl Architects, will open to the public on September 9, 2009 uniting three distinct cultural institutions: the Herning Center of the Arts, the MidWest Ensemble and the Socle du Monde. The new center is intended to be an innovative forum combining visual art and music, providing a driving cultural force for the region of central Jutland, Denmark.


Perspective - © Steen Gyldendal

Perspective - © Steen Gyldendal


A fusion of landscape and architecture, the landscape of grass mounds and reflecting pools aligns with a geometry of curved roof sections in a new building that houses permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a 150-seat auditorium, music rehearsal rooms, a restaurant, a media library, and administrative offices all on one level.

Herning’s longstanding relationship with textiles and the textile industry, as well as the museum’s large collection of original works by Piero Manzoni (in total 46 works) forms the inspiration for the building’s design concept. The museum is sited near Herning’s original Angli shirt factory, and the shirt collar-shaped plan of its 1960s building has inspired the shape of the new museum building. Viewed from above, HEART’s roof geometry resembles a collection of shirt sleeves laid over the gallery spaces. The loose edges of the plan offer spaces for the café, auditorium, lobby, and offices. The exhibition spaces can be easily closed, while all peripheral spaces remain open for after-hours use.


Watercolor - © Steven Holl

Watercolor - © Steven Holl


The galleries are orthogonal in plan and finely proportioned for art, while overhead curved roof sections transport natural light into the spaces. The galleries’ perimeter walls are load bearing elements, emphasizing these as “treasure boxes” in the museum, while internal gallery walls of lightweight construction are movable. Floors of integral color charcoal concrete unify the ground plane into a continuous patina with a wax finish. Fabric tarps were inserted into the formwork to yield a fabric texture to the building’s exterior walls of white concrete.

The surrounding landscape is partially shaped in the reverse-curve of the geometry of the museum’s roof. In transforming the flat field around the site, a new 40,000sf bermed landscape of grass mounds and pools conceals parking and service areas, while drawing the focus onto reflecting pools positioned in the south sun. The Museum will open with a new installation of the works of Italian artist Jannis Kounellis and will display its large permanent collection of Arte Povera works.


Model - © Steven Holl Architects

Model - © Steven Holl Architects

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