Norway’s Newest Museum Opens Today—and it Spirals Over a Rushing River
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Norway’s Newest Museum Opens Today—and it Spirals Over a Rushing River

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By Duncan Nielsen
Set in the sprawling, wooded Kistefos sculpture park—just 50 miles north of Oslo—The Twist by Bjarke Ingels Group connects the banks of the Randselva River.

Today marks the grand opening of The Twist—a new museum at Northern Europe’s biggest sculpture park, where the pulp industry once reigned. In 2011 the grandson of the local mill’s founder Christen Sveaas ran a design competition to expand the site’s gallery space, and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) presented a torqued metal bridge that has now come to life.

"After many years of planning and development, we’re delighted to be opening this beautiful new space, The Twist, at Kistefos," says Sveaas. The new space will allow the site to expand work with leading contemporary artists.

The Twist hovers over the Randselva River, adding a second, more spectacular water crossing to the Kistefos sculpture park. As it spirals across, the walkway slopes slightly to rest on either bank.

A detail photo shows that the museum’s twisting form is actually composed of straight elements.

This is BIG’s first project in Norway, however it’s their second museum opening this year. (The first was the MÉCA art hub in Bordeaux, France.) 

"With the inhabited bridge, we stumbled upon our first experiment with social infrastructure—a building that serves as a bridge—or a cultural institution that serves as a piece of infrastructure," says Bjarke Ingels. He calls it "a sculpture, a building, a path in the landscape, and a bridge—all in one."

The bridge’s glass facade gives the space a wide-open feel, and allows visitors to take in the verdant surroundings. 

An enclosed gallery space hosts large works of art. Inside Out by Hodgkins and Creed is the new gallery’s first exhibition, and it runs until November 17.

The Twist perfectly compliments the landscape and is a spirited addition to Kistefos. The structure itself is a massive, hovering sculpture, and it will house exhibitions from world-renowned artists in each of its three internal spaces: a panoramic gallery, an interstitial space, and a tall, closed gallery meant for large works of art.

Stacked, linear aluminum pieces are flayed out to create a fan effect in the twisted section of the museum. 

Visitors can wander through the bridge’s shifting volumes, peering out at the forested landscape through a full-width glass wall that twists upwards as one moves from North to South across the Randselva River. Aluminum panels stack like a fan to create a mesmerizing spiraling effect.

"Wherever you look, you see arches and curves, Fibonacci spirals and saddle shapes, but when you look closer you realize that everything is created from straight lines—straight sheets of aluminum, straight boards of wood. It’s an expressive organic sculpture composed of rational repetitive elements," says Ingels.

An aerial view shows the museum’s sculptural, twisted form. 

During the day, the glass paneling allows natural light to flood the museum’s interiors. At night, the space glows above the river.

At roughly 10,000 square feet, the museum is both literally and figuratively a huge addition for Norway. When Sveaas sparked the initiative eight years ago, he envisioned a worldwide attraction: "Our ambition is to make Kistefos a must-see cultural destination with a world-class temporary exhibition and sculpture park program to complement the rich industrial heritage of the site."

Related Reading:

BIG's €60 Million MÉCA Culture and Arts Center Just Opened in Bordeaux 

This Curving Prefab in Copenhagen Contains 66 Affordable Apartments 

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