The construction of a new Munch/Stenersen Museum in Oslo is part of the urban development plan for the former Paulsenkaia harbor site, which is to be given a boost by the appeal of the museum and the nearby Opera. On the reclaimed land of the harbor area adjacent to the new opera, a boulevard is envisioned, lined with buildings housing shops, cafes, and restaurants on the ground floor with offices and apartments above. Some harbor areas will be renaturalized, and steps to sit on along the banks of the Akersleva River are an invitation to linger by the water’s edge. A wide, slightly sloping causeway will lead from the Opera up to the museum and reach further out over the water as a pier.
The Munch/Stenersen Museum is to rise like a “floating peninsula” between the Bjørvika and Bispevika fjords, hovering on piles above the water. Visitors enter the museum through a spacious foyer with adjoining restaurant, museum shop, and conference rooms and then continue on through a security passage, which is of central importance to the museum after the theft of the famous painting The Scream. An imposing staircase lit by a skylight above winds up to the exhibition level.
The six large exhibition halls can be accessed separately via a generous connecting space that not only provides an open area for introductions to guided tours and educational presentations, but also serves as an informal zone where guests can relax and enjoy views of the sea and the city in all directions through large picture windows.
The variously sized exhibition halls by contrast are places for quiet, concentrated art viewing. They offer the desired flexibility - able to be subdivided into smaller units or their ceiling height adapted as needed - as well as the explicitly requested illumination with artificial light.
The museum is set on concrete piles driven into the sea bed, which are visible and become part of the museum design due to the raised position of the platform several meters above sea level. The building hence fulfills the desired functions as a “beacon,” while also alluding to the structural form of an oil platform or a majestic villa atop pilotis. Brownish-red concrete is used throughout as construction material, from the concrete piles to the central hall on the exhibition level.