The Norwegian writer and musician, Alf Prøysen,
was one of the greatest poets of his generation.
His artistic achievement found its way to the
people’s hearts through his warm humanity and
wisdom. On the occasion of the commemoration of his 100th anniversary, a private initiative was taken to create a new national cultural center in his memory – a building located in the forest close to his birthplace and home.
Through a private initiative, local companies
were gathered to co-fund the house as a gift to
Ringsaker municipality on the 100th anniversary
on July 23rd 2014. In addition to private
contributions and efforts, state and municipality
contributed funds for content and program.
Snøhetta was asked to design the house which
would replace an existing Prøysen center. A need
was identified to actualize Prøysen’s authorship
and songs, making them more available for the
younger generations. The aims of the project is
to create a cultural center that can appeal both
to adults and children, and at the same time be a
gathering point for young musicians and authors.
The idea is a building in the spirit of Prøysen that naturally joins in to his local universe and creates interaction with the existing farmyard and forest – a building that fits in its surroundings but still is anchored in a contemporary architectural idiom.
The 1000sqm building accommodates a small shop, a café with a fireplace and baking oven, as well as a terrace with view down to the old Prøysen farm. The core of the building holds a theater for approximately 200 people, and it has a duplexing stage enabling shows facing both the theater hall and the café. Surrounding the theater there is a permanent exhibition with smaller rooms, as well as a small library with books and publications of Prøysen.
From the local road, Prestvegen, one is led to the cultural center on a board walk through thewoods. The outer skin of the façade is a cladding of treated pine wood battens in an uneven pattern. This creates a slight transparency into the underlying red façade that is exposed on the front of the terrace and by the entrance. The atmosphere of the interior is unpretentious with solid wooden floors and plywood veneered walls and contrasting painted colors on fixed and loose furniture.
The visual identity of the Prøysen Center is a combination of Alf Prøysen’s identity and some of the architectural features of the building. Together they continue Prøysen’s heritage as a storyteller – through the cultural frame. The cultural frame is inspired by the windows in the building, and with a flexible logo the building is given a chance to tell stories through a visual framework recognizable when visiting the house.
The overall idea for the Prøysen Center is to continue Alf Prøysen as a storyteller through the house’s visual character.
On the occasion of the anniversary, a public gift was initiated – a star designed by a local artist, Linda Bakke. The star will be located in the woods adjacent to the farm and the cultural center and will be lit November 23rd 2014, on the day of Prøysen’s death, drawing attention to the cultural center and the life and legacy of AlfPrøysen.