The Norwegian Skimuseet in Oslo is the world’s oldest ski museum. For the 100 years anniversary in 2023, Snøhetta has designed a new extension and outdoor entrance. The ambition is to bring the building displaying over 4.000 years of ski history back into the light.
The act of skiing is considered the national sport of Norway and skis have been used in Norway since prehistoric times. By strapping your skis on you can easily move into remote and untouched areas to enjoy the silence of wild nature. It also explains why the history of skiing is about the relationship between mankind, survival, hunting, and the utilization of nature in winter times.
2 Back to the light
With the construction of the new Holmenkollen Ski Jump in 2010, Skimuseet lost its solitary position next to the main attraction. Thus, the re-establishment of the former grandness became an important task for the Snøhettas team. This was done by carefully working out solutions for the three main dilemmas: Firstly, parts of the administration building from the former ski jump had been left underneath the new structure of 2010 and were blocking the view. One-third of this was demolished, which opened the view. Secondly, the enormous footprint of the above grandstands was hiding the museum and hindering the visitors from finding their way to the entrance. This was solved by creating a new extension in front of the old entrance area. The position, notably further out, ensures visibility. Last, but not least, a new façade was created with an identity of its own and a clear reference to the mission and content of the museum.
3 The flow
Constrained by existing built conditions the museum extension is purely a rational outcome of the program and the possibilities given by surroundings. Whilst the more than 5-meter-tall glass climate barrier follows this outline, the outer screen flows independently, dynamically passing by the new extension and new outline of the administration building. The semi-transparent curtain is puzzled together of wooden planks, inspired by the original material for skis. In this way, the Snøhetta architects could handle the challenges given by all limitations and create a meaningful form with an independent identity. The composition creates a soft and curvy gesture and sets a clear distinction from the existing ski arena which is dominated by concrete, steel, stone, and dark colors. The semi-transparent creates a filter between indoor and outdoor and cast livelily shadows through the inner foyer area.
The expressive screen welcomes each visitor and leads the eye towards a pronounced lift in the curtain marking the foyer area. Passing through the curtain and arriving inside, the public is met with an almost cave-like and warm atmosphere giving clear reference to the warm coziness skiers may long for after a walk outside in the winter landscape. From this point, the museum's guests are led to the areas supporting museum activities, seating possibilities, and a café with an outdoor terrace, designed by Snøhetta. Cafe interiors are placed in the original administration building and inspired by the colors of the 1950s, a gesture to the original ski jump and the Oslo Winter Games in 1952. The foyer marks also the entrance to Skimuseet’s exhibition areas.