Lillehammer Art Museum
A carefully orchestrated expansion


Architecture, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture


For the Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994, it was decided to focus on art and culture in the city, and that the Lillehammer Art Museum should be expanded. Snøhetta got the task of creating an extension to the original Erling Viksjø building dating from 1963. 

While Viksjø used natural concrete as a façade material, a concrete surface treatment technique that he developed himself, the addition has a pronounced swinging wooden façade facing Stortorget in Lillehammer.

The Snøhetta building is now considered the main building of the museum. It is connected to the Viksjø building by a glass bridge, and an "art garden" with watercourses and natural stone gutters designed by Bård Breivik is built beneath it. As the first museum building by Snøhetta architects, it's an icon in Norwegian museum architecture today.

Technical details

Museum & Gallery
Lillehammer, Norway

Lillehammer Art Museum

2 700 m2

New facade before the Siberian larch graying process started.

Photo: Jiri Havran

View of the museum from the main street adjoining the market shows the undulating wooden wall lifting from the slope of the ground and revealing the lobbies that connect to the public plaza.

Photo: Photo: Ketil Jacobsen,

"The grand piano"

While the public entrance spaces of the extention were designed as transparent as possible, the softly tilted and curved exhibition spaces are clad with Siberian untreated larch. 

These wooden, instrument-like forms later gave the building its local nickname, "the grand piano," thus unconsciously emphasizing the initial ideas of the museum as a resonance body. 

While the entrance level and public entries have been connected to the orthogonal geometry of the urban surroundings and the adjacent plaza, the exhibition spaces are related formally to the distant contours of Lillehammer’s softly curved mountains.

The building then relates itself to both characteristics visible from its location and thus becomes a versatile negotiator between immediate and distant contextual conditions.

The sculpture garden set between the existing museum and the new was developed together with the artist Bård Brevik.

Photo: Mark Syke

The larger temporary gallery is set within a generally square room. The eastern part of the room is tilted and aligned with the exterior undulating wood wall alongside the plaza.

Photo: Jiri Havran

Photo: Jiri Havran