Are You Ready for the World’s First Museum-as-Bridge? Norway Is

The new Kistefos Museum outside Oslo will be built over a river.

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.Photo: BIG via The Creators Project
Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.
Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

The Danish studio BIG, with Bjarke Ingels at the helm, has unveiled its proposal for the new Kistefos Museum in Norway, and it hasn’t left anyone indifferent.

BIG’s design envisions the museum as a fully functioning bridge crossing the river Randselva in Jevnaker, an hour north of Oslo.

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.<br>Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.
Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

The 4,600-square-foot bridge will connect the two sides of the renowned Kistefos sculpture park, which opened in the late 1990s and occupies a sprawling 886,000-square-feet garden. It houses works by artists such as Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, Fernando Botero, and Elmgreen & Dragset.

“We were instantly fascinated by the dramatic landscape of Kistefos—the winding river, forested riverbanks, and the steep topography,” the architecture firm explained in a statement published on their website. “The museum visit itself will be a bridge not a goal.”

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.<br>Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.
Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

The construction of the museum, which will focus on contemporary sculpture and industrial design, will begin in 2016 and is slated to be completed by 2019.

“From the first time I set foot on the soil of Kistefos sculpture park, I was struck by the beauty of the landscape,” David Zahle, a parter of the studio, told the Creators Project. “The sculptures reflect and engage in the topography and the river in a truly magnificent way. Being able to contribute to the landscape of buildings, art, and nature is a true pleasure,” he added.

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.<br>Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.
Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

Ingels has described this “inhabitable bridge” as the studio’s “first experiment with social infrastructure.” The Danish architect is best known for his work on the Two World Trade Center, and a Lego architecture project he recently made in collaboration with Eliasson.

The maverick project will cement Norway’s growing reputation as a supportive country for all things art related.

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.<br>Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

Rendering of the new Kistefos Museum.
Photo: BIG via The Creators Project

Earlier this year, collector and developer Christian Ringnes unveiled two new works by Damien Hirst and Jake and Dinos Chapman, in his Ekebergparken sculpture park, also outside Olso. Meanwhile, in June, the 8th edition of the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, opened in the Norwegian city of Moss to great acclaim.


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