On behalf of the foundation Stiftelsen Kunstnerhjemmene i Sigdal, Snøhetta has completed a feasibility study for the National Center for Theodor Kittelsen adjacent to the artist Theodor Kittelsen’s (1857 – 1914) home and former atelier in Lauvlia in Sigdal, Norway. Kittelsen is one of the most renowned artists in Norway, famous for his paintings and illustrations of fairy tales and legends.
The center, which is currently owned by the foundation, will be a research and learning center of great national value, commemorating Kittelsen’s work and life. The center will also become as a functional workplace for the foundation.
The concept for the center is based on a duality between the obvious and the quiet discovery, between reality and fantasy. This duality is very much present in Kittelsen’s own work. As an artist, he highlights nature’s mysteries with the forest as an important source of inspiration. Privately, Kittelsen lived a secluded life, enjoying life at the atelier of Lauvlia.
The National Center for Theodor Kittelsen will become a public venue, accessible to both children and adults who are enchanted by Kittelsen’s mysterious universe.
The main qualities of the north-facing plot of Lauvlia are Kittelsen’s historic home, the view of Andersnatten over the Soneren, and the forest. The smallholding of Kittelen’s home faces northwards, and is situated at the lowest point of the plot. The new visitor’s center is placed in the middle section of the plot, penetrating the grassy landscape. Two visible extensions of the building emerge from the plot.
The first extension of the building makes up for the entry area of the center. Here one will find a café, a shop, a kitchen, a wardrobe area, an activity room as well as office spaces dedicated to employees of the foundation. A part of the center will also be dedicated to a study area where one can delve into the life and work of Kittelsen.
The second extension of the building, the forest wing, is not visible from the entrance area, but unveils itself from the inside of the center. Here, transparent and curved windows provide for a beautiful view of the forest. The forest represents a source of inspiration for art and creation, adding a sense of mystery to the space. This is a place for contemplation, calmness and storytelling. An adjacent gallery for temporary exhibitions can also be accessed through this space.
The two spaces, the entry area and the forest wing, are interconnected by a hallway deprived of daylight, marking the transition between daily life and art. The hallway can also be used for the exhibition of sketches, letters and books of Theodor Kittelsen.