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With consideration to scale, form and space, materiality, and our environment, we choose to carefully address the surroundings with a free and open dialogue, helping to inform the genus loci, the sense of place. Speaking to the scale of existing structures, our proposed solution lies low to the earth near the Nobel Peace Center, in respectful respite, before symbolically climbing up and around to announce its presence with a cantilevered expression of hope and vitality. Drawing upon the surrounding architectural history, we speak to the depth and richness of local culture through the metaphor of the fjord. The physical embodiment of weight and time, museum vaults rise from the earth in clean and simple gestures, anchoring the space in which they reside. Like artifacts of a living culture, still waters of the fjord depths, these vaults cradle and protect the history and spirit of the people, lending permanence and order to the refracting dynamics of the spaces within and without the museum envelope. Light bending its way to the depths of the the fjord, the activity and life of the gallery and public spaces draw senses inward, closer, from beyond–offering glimmers of these depths within, a look into this culture from all directions.
A multi-faceted approach to addressing environmental issues includes building orientation for harnessing solar energy while mitigating winter winds, daylighting where functionally appropriate, a selection of natural indigenous materials and utilization of local building technologies. By carefully positioning glazing to take best advantage of views and daylighting for public spaces while offering controllable filtered sunlight for certain portions of gallery space, we are able to utilize passive solar gain to supplement heating requirements. Selective location of materials possessing high thermal mass properties allow the building to store unused heat energy for release via radiant heating during periods of minimal sunlight as well as aiding the interior climate system to control daily temperature fluctuation. A proprietary exterior envelope aids in insulating the interior from exterior temperature extremes while simultaneously offering flexibility for controlled views and sunlight infiltration. Intensive solar studies of the immediate site, including potential effects of shading by existing and potential buildings provides data which we interpret and utilize for planning and architectural envelope concepts. By respecting the elements of both the micro and macro climate of the site, we reach a solution that cohesively fits within the context, requiring a less robust mechanical system than expected of baseline facility of similar typology.