Public and private spaces collide in Snøhetta's fine arts faculty for Bergen

International architects Snøhetta have completed a new home of fine art, music and design in Bergen, Norway.

The complex has been designed for the University of Bergen’s art and design faculty – previously scattered across six buildings – and will be open to the public so that “students, professors, and visitors will connect, discover, and learn from one another”.

The 14,800sq m (159,300sq ft) structure is Bergen’s second-largest cultural building, after the 1,500-seat Grieg Concert Hall. It has been designed along two axes which crossover in a multi-use project hall: one internal, dedicated to students and staff, and one external, open to the public. These two crossover in the vast multi-use project hall at the centre of the building.

A large glass wall draws visitors into the space, which is open to the public Kunstallmenningen plaza. Inside, 32 large workshop and display areas are equipped with heavy machinery for woodwork, ceramics, metalwork, plaster, printmaking, textiles, 3D modeling and printing, video, sound art and photography.

In a design statement, Snøhetta said: “The hall is designed to both foster creativity and to withstand harsh treatment which is inevitable in an art school. The objective is to free students and staff from limitations by surfaces and materials and to reflect the faculty’s ambition of stimulating to collaboration and cross-disciplinary exchange.

“Very much a public space, as well as an artistic space for students, the project hall will host events and exhibitions. Rising to 23m high at its tallest point, it is equipped with an original Munck bridge crane running its entire length, echoing the now demolished Sverre Munck's crane factory which used to occupy the site.”

Other public amenities include a second-storey café and terrace, a library, a materials library and nine acres of landscaped outdoor space and parkland.

The studio added that the building has been constructed using clean-cut, environmentally friendly and durable materials “that will withstand the rainy climate of the Norwegian west coast and a high degree of rough use, wear and tear.”

The material palette itself references the coast and its industrial heritage, through the use of pine wood block flooring, birch veneer, crude steel and concrete.

The building is clad with 900 pre-fabricated raw aluminium elements which protrude at varying distances, “composing a puzzle of depth, breadth and length”. Large cantilevered box-shaped windows – which can be sat in from the inside as social zones – punctuate the rhythm of the surface.

Snøhetta are currently working on several other high-profile cultural and leisure projects around the world, including a 16-acre riverfront campus of The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland; a new hotel on Helsinki’s Hakaniemi waterfront; and a riverwalk next to North America’s second-highest waterfall.

Snøhetta  Faculty of Fine Art  Music and Design  Bergen  University of Bergen  Norway  architecture  design 
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International architects Snøhetta have completed a new home of fine art, music and design in Bergen, Norway. The complex has been designed for the University of Bergen’s art and design faculty – previously scattered across six buildings – and will be open to the public so that “students, professors, and visitors will connect, discover, and learn from one another”. The 14,800sq m (159,300sq ft) structure is Bergen’s second-largest cultural building,
International architects Snøhetta have completed a new home of fine art, music and design in Bergen, Norway / Tomasz Majewski Photography
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