Kistefos Museum has a twist in its story

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The Kistefos Museum has a 90-degree twist at its center(Credit: Bjarke Ingels Group)

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The design for the Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker, Norway, is multifaceted and brilliant. It will be part building, part bridge. It will also reconcile the different heights of opposing river banks with a simple but deft sculptural trick. This is apt, given that will be located in a sculpture park.

Kistefos Sculpture Park was established in the 1990s and is home to works by artists including Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, Fernando Bottero and Elmgreen & Dragset. The walking route around the park meanders through the surrounding forest and is intersected by the Randselva river. Currently, however, there is only one bridge in the park by which to cross the river. The new building, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) will span the river and complete the route of the park.

"We were instantly fascinated by the dramatic landscape of Kistefos – the winding river, forested riverbanks and the steep topography," says founding partner of BIG 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."

The 1,400 sq m (15,100 sq ft) museum will take a rectangular form at either end. A 90-degree twist at the center of the building’s volume, however, will mean that it is shaped like a vertical rectangle at one end and horizontal one at the other. With the vertical end of the building stood on the lower river bank, the twist at the building's center will raise the floor-level to sit on the higher opposing river bank.

Inside the museum, a staircase will be built into the twisted section. As well as allowing visitors to move between levels, it will be used as an informal seating area and a space from which visitors can watch video projections, performance art and other events.

Full-width glazing will span one of the building's shorter dimensions. At one end of the museum, it will act as a huge skylight, before itself being twisted around and becoming a side-facing window.

The building's glazing will have a reflective UV film to protect the artworks inside and to keep out 75 percent of solar gain. This will help to keep the building cool. The addition of electrical solar shading, meanwhile, will mean that the gallery can morph between being sky-lit, side-lit or dark. The non-glazed portion of the building will be formed of brushed stainless steel.

Funding for the Kistefos Museum has now been secured and construction is expected to begin in 2016. The estimated completion date for the building is 2019.

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