new Maritime Museum and Science Center in Norway

Construction of the new Maritime Museum and Science Center started this week in Porsgrunn, Norway. The building, designed by Danish architecture offices COBE and TRANSFORM, conveys Norway’s transformation from a seafaring nation to a modern society based on knowledge industry. The project is expected to be completed already in fall of 2012.

The iconic character of the new Maritime Museum and its attractive location at the river close to the city center makes this new building a natural landmark for the city of Porsgrunn. Furthermore, the new museum building is the first step towards a big new master plan development for Porsgrunn City Center - also designed by COBE and TRANSFORM.

The city of Porsgrunn has a long maritime history of shipping and the unique development of the region is clearly visible in the existing remarkable building structure of the area. The concept of the museum shows a high level of sensitivity towards the existing small buildings yet simultaneously stands out as a contemporary public building.

Taking into account the surrounding building structure, the new building is composed of 9 smaller building volumes with tilted and pitched roofs that are assembled into a larger building unit. A characteristic aluminum façade outlines the shape of the building and provides a vivid impression by reflecting the lights and colors of the surrounding landscape.

All public functions of the building are situated on the ground floor and have direct access to the outdoor areas including the new promenade towards the river.

The central entrance area is the building’s main room from where all other rooms are distributed. This multifunctional space is defined by a central characteristic staircase that folds down from above and invites visitors upstairs to the large, enclosed exhibition area. Here various room heights and a distinct ceiling line emphasizes an airy and continuous space.

The exhibition space is composed as an open flexible space, gently subdivided by the roof into 9 different spatial experiences. The 9 spatialities can be separated or combined thereby providing a sound functional setting for small and large exhibitions.

Lars Bendrup, director at TRANSFORM, says: ”The new Maritime Museum and Science Center starts up an important process to turn the back of the city to the front. In the future, the city of Porsgrunn will be oriented towards the river. The signaling effect will therefore be crucial to the city’s new situation”.

Dan Stubbergaard, owner of COBE, says: “The new Maritime Museum and Science Center balances between contextual adaptation and modernity.The interpretation of the context’s pitched roofs and small building volumes create the frames for a unique intenior with varying, vivid spatialities.”

The project is done in collaboration with the engineering firm Sweco and is expected to be completed in autumn 2012.

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