Snøhetta’s Petter Dass museum in Alstahaug, Norway, cuts into the surrounding historical landscape
Petter Dass is one of Norway’s most important and beloved National poets. The strong historical importance of the surroundings made the task of locating and designing a new building on the site sensitive and very challenging. Snøhetta´s team decided to make a new site by making a cut in the landscape. This cut allows a freestanding building which in volume balances the mass removed. This bold solution creates a new but humble relationship to the historical sites, as well as allowing an expressive design.
The site is defined by two 70 meter long wire-cut rock walls 15.5 meters apart. Between these walls a new ground level is established. The museum itself is 11.5 meters wide creating a 2 meter clearance to the rock wall on ether side. This open space reveals a new sightline and allows the visitors to circulate between the building and the rock walls.
Snøhetta’s overall intention has been to integrate the building with the landscape by letting the roof section relate to the section of the terrain. The transparent walls of the museum’s ground floor emphasize the relationship between the landscape and building. At both ends of the closed and “floating” volume there are large glass surfaces, offering views towards the church on one side and towards the sky on the other. Through this visual contact the building represents a relationship between the historical site representing the past, and the view towards the sky represents the future. The museum is approaching its one year anniversary in October.