Through breath-taking feats of architecture, engineering and inventiveness, a tiny polar town in Norway is now home to a maritime monument like no other.
Written by Henning Prytz Poulsen / Pressenytt
Aurora borealis light up the sky above the museum.
– The photos look great, but in all modesty, it is actually even more impressive in real life, says Gunnar Næss, at LINK Arkitektur’s Trondheim offices.
Ad notam: Adrian Lombardo, also from Link Arkitektur, will give a seminar at A@W Oslo on 23 November, at 3 PM. Register your participation here (free).
The experienced architect’s face lights up when he talks about the new “Hurtigrutemuseet” – a maritime museum dedicated to the ferries that have hauled passengers and goods along the long and rugged Norwegian coastline since 1893.
The stand-out part of the museum, located on the Stokmarknes seafront, is “MS Finnmarken”, an entire 81,3-metre-long former “Hurtigrute” ship with a tonnage of nearly 2200 and a passenger capacity of 425. It is encased in 3600 square meters of – for the most part – glass and steel.
– The structure is a monument in itself, but we have put special emphasis on logistics and functionality. "MS Finnmarken" is a huge vessel, with six decks that are accessible to visitors. Without good architecture things would get chaotic, especially if you are a cruise tourist and you only have a short amount of time to spend, says Næss.
Visitors can access six decks on board "MS Finnmarken".
“MS Finnmarken” first came into service all the way back in 1956. For nearly four decades it sailed the coast. When the venerable ferry was retired in the 1990s, maritime enthusiasts worked hard to save it from the scrapper. For 20 years it sat ashore, awaiting its fate.
Then, a few years ago the Norwegian Government, Nordland county and the municipality of Hadsel managed to come to an agreement over the ship. LINK Arkitektur along with Multiconsult were tasked with drawing a protective building to house the vessel.
– I made a lot of sketches, but none of them felt quite right. Then it struck me: "MS Finnmarken" was one of the first ships with openings in the hull that lean forward. This inspired me to come up with a dynamic shape that follows the ship, Næss says.
LINK Arkitektur gave the structure a dynamic shape inspired by the ship.
The museum is framed with a white metal sheet.
The construction was handled by building company Peab and steel construction specialist IMTAS. By the waterfront they raised a 550 tonne, 105 metres long, and 21 meters tall structure. A wide, white metal frame surrounds the sides of the building and enhances its shape, giving its viewer a sensation of movement across the water. An enormous glass façade faces the fjord, offering a stunning view both to and from the ship.
Apart from being water tight and robust enough to handle heavy snowfall, one of the structure’s most impressive, albeit hidden architectural qualities is its flexibility. Stokmarknes can be a windy place to say the least, and the building is designed to withstand a typhoon.
– The structure can move up to seven centimetres without damaging the adjourning building, Næss reveals.
The Hurtigrute museum has been awarded the prestigious European Steel Design Award as well as the Norwegian Award for Steel Constructions.
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© All pictures: LINK Arkitektur / Sven Fredriksen