"The new National Arts Museum will be one of Norways most important and monumental buildings. In addition, the environmental standards are high and security issues are central. An extensive planning period is behind us; we now look forward to starting the building process." Øivind Christoffersen, CEO, Statsbygg.
Klaus Schuwerk, partner at Kleihues + Schuwerk Gesellschaft von Architekten winners of the architectural competition for the new museum, mentions the Vitruvian term,
“Firmitas, was a term used in Antiquity to define one of the most important qualities for a building: it should be solid and lasting,” as one of the guiding principles for the design.
He adds their ambition for the new National Arts Museum; "A museum represents the collective memory of the society to which it belongs, values that are important for future generations. The longevity of a museum building therefore becomes doubly important. The materials should stand the test of time, so that the building can age with patina and dignity.
Timelessness is in many ways unobtainable. All objects are marked by their time. But if we try to avoid the sensational, and seek eternal qualities, this building may well become a symbol of the deepest aspirations of our generation."
The foyer of the new Museum will be open and spacious, with information desks, a museum shop, an auditorium seating 200 and a restaurant.
There will be sufficient space for visiting school classes, tourists and other larger groups. This is a major improvement compared to the existing museum buildings, which are hampered by narrow and impractical reception areas.
The museum’s permanent collections will be exhibited on the ground and first floors; design and decorative arts on the lower level, and above, the visual arts from antiquity to the present. The visitor will be able to access the large library as well as the roof terrace from here. The terrace will provide stunning views towards the square in front of the City Hall, the harbour and the fjord.
The Alabaster Hall.- On the second floor, the visitor will enter the magnificent Alabaster Hall, the space for temporary exhibitions. The Alabaster Hall is a key element in the new museum’s architecture. With its ceiling height of approximately seven metres and filtered light, it will provide a unique sense of space. The Alabaster Hall is a space in which the museum will be able to display exhibitions of a size that have hitherto been impossible, due to the limitations of the old buildings.