Knut Hamsun Center
Steven Holl Architects has designed the Knut Hamsun Center located in Hamarøy, Norway. The project has been awarded the 2012 Houens Fonds Diplom, the most prestigious architecture prize in Norway.This is an historical museum for writer Knut Hamsun including exhibition areas, library, reading room, cafe and 230 seat auditorium.
The 2700-square-meter center is located above the Arctic Circle by the village of Presteid of Hamarøy, near the farm where Hamsun grew up. The building includes exhibition areas, a library and reading room, a café, and an auditorium for museum and community use.
Influenced by Hamsun’s explorations of the intricacies of the human mind, the building is conceived as an archetypal and intensified compression of spirit in space and light, and as the realization of a Hamsun character in architectonic terms. Inspired by passages of Hamsun’s texts, there is an “empty violin case” deck, while a viewing balcony is like the “girl with sleeves rolled up polishing panes.”
The concept for the Hamsun Center, “Building as a Body: Battleground of Invisible Forces,” is realized from both inside and out. The wood exterior is punctuated by hidden impulses piercing through the surface. The spine of the building’s body, constructed from perforated brass, acts as the central elevator. The board form concrete structure, with stained white interiors, is illuminated by diagonal rays of sunlight that are calculated to ricochet through the section on certain days of the year.
The tarred black wood exterior skin alludes to Norwegian Medieval wooden stave churches, and in the roof garden, long chutes of bamboo refer to traditional Norwegian sod roofs.
Project name: Knut Hamsun Center
Location: Presteid, 8294 Hamarøy, Norway
Program: historical museum for writer Knut Hamsun including exhibition areas, library, reading room, cafe and 230 seat auditorium
Project Area: 2,271 sqm
Project Year: 1994-2009
Completion Year: 2009
- 2012 Houens Fonds Diplom, the most prestigious architecture prize in Norway
- INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE AWARD, USA/Ireland, 2010
- NORTH NORWEGIAN ARCHITECTURE PRIZE, Norway, 2010
- AIA NY ARCHITECTURE HONOR AWARD, USA, 2010
- Progressive Architecture Awards, USA, 1997
Client / Owner / Developer: Nordland Fylkeskommune (County)
Architects: Steven Holl Architects
Project Architect: Erik Fenstad
Associate-in-Charge: Noah Yaffe
Project Team: Gabriela Barman-Kraemer, Yoh Hanaoka, Justin Korhammer, Anna Müller, Audra Tuskes
Associate architects (construction documents): LY Arkitekter AS
Structural engineer (design development): Guy Nordenson and Associates
Structural engineer (construction documents): Rambøll Norge
Mechanical engineer (design development): Ove Arup
Mechanical engineer (construction documents): Rambøll Norge
Lighting consultant (design development): L’Observatoire International
Lighting consultant (construction documents): Vesa Honkonen Architects
Landscape architect (construction documents): Landskapsfabikken
Text Description: © Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Images: © Ernst Furuhatt & Steven Holl Architects