Viking Age Museum

One way or another, Norway and Norsemen will always be associated with Vikings – those warriors, now practically mythical, have become synonymous with what is today one of the world’s most peaceful nations. Ships are also closely linked to Viking culture, and it was natural that the aim of the new Viking Age Museum was to display the ancient vessels in as presentable a manner as possible.

In KOKO’s solution, the museum’s main indoor attractions determine the external form of the building, too – the “mountains” rising above the snowy, monolithic fjords conceal three old and venerable ships. Between the four arms of a cross-shaped basilica, new separate geometric solids are seated, the shape and position of which give the old building some breathing room.

The basins in front of the main entrance and between the various buildings serve as an introduction to the indoor exhibition devoted to life at sea. The core of the movement and life in the building is the old structure, which channels movement into the new parts. The imposing elongated form of the old building functions as a foyer and staging area for the different spaces, while the “wings” of the cross-shaped footprint house an auditorium and café.

A representation of the Milky Way created with crystal chandeliers in the ceiling of the longhouse directs visitors down the stairs at the end of the lobby into the exhibition halls. Visitors wander down ramps around the ships, which alternate with displays of old artefacts and memorabilia from the nautical culture of yore. Thanks to the voyage through space, visitors are able to study ships and seafaring culture in the same way as their original users – from the sides, inside and out.