Petter Dass was a clergyman and writer who lived and worked in Northern Norway from 1689 until his death in 1707. His poetry and fearless, open personality have made him a legendary character in Norway.
The historical importance of the surroundings made the task of locating and designing a new building on the site sensitive and very challenging. Snøhetta decided to make a cut in the landscape, creating space for a freestanding building, which, in volume added, balances the mass removed. This bold solution creates a new yet humble relationship to the adjacent historical sites, as well as allowing an expressive architecture. In this way, the new museum visualizes the historical timeline from the church’s beginnings to the present day.
Snøhetta's overall intention has been to integrate the building with the historical and cultural landscape by letting the roof section relate to the section of the terrain.
The transparent walls of the museum’s ground floor emphasize the relationship between the landscape and building. The new 1350 m2 museum building is transparent at ground level, while the first floor exhibition spaces are enclosed in an organic 'cocoon’.
Two 70-meter long wire-cut rock walls, 15.5 meters apart, define the site. Between these walls, a new ground level and landscape is established. The museum itself is 11.5 meters wide creating a two meter clearance to the rock wall on either side. This open space reveals a new sightline, and allows the visitors to circulate between the building and the rock walls.
The exposed granite wall lives in parallel with the building facade.
The transparent walls of the museum's ground floor emphasize the relationship between the landscape and building.
At the east end of the exhibition room, one can look down on the historical church green, while to the west, one is confronted by the timelessness of the great coastal landscape. In this way, the building combines - as Petter Dass did in his writing - earth and sky, past and present.
The stairs leading up to the exhibition areas run alongside a glass wall, in parallel to the granite face outside.