Lillehammer Art Museum & Cinema
By Kirsten Kiser
Twenty two years after completing the first expansion to the Lillehammer Art Museum, Snøhetta has again expanded the project, creating a holistic expression for both the art museum and the adjacent cinema.
The Lillehammer Art Museum and Lillehammer Cinema were first established in an Erling Viksjø-designed building in 1964, which today is considered a definite representation of the architectural style of its time.
In 1994, Snøhetta completed an extension to the Museum with the construction of an independent building that sought to bridge the architectural language of the original 1960s buildings and contemporary formal expression.
With the addition to the Museum of the new exhibition hall, Weidemannsalen, this second Snøhetta-designed expansion connects the two existing institutions. The expansion also includes two theaters and an interior renovation to the Lillehammer Cinema.
The key concept was to bring back the foyer as an extension of the plaza in front of the Cinema, creating a stronger connection between the city and the foyer, as Viksjø originally had imagined it. With this, Odd Tandbergs wall art in the foyer is again part of the city.
The concept for the expansion of the Museum came from the idea of art hovering above a transparent base. A children’s workshop, with floor-to-ceiling windows, is located at ground level beneath the cantilevered hall. The hall is wrapped in a dynamic metal façade made from driven, highly polished stainless steel. The striking metallic wrapping reflects the surrounding context and changes its appearance with the light.
The second story gallery houses the works of Lillehammer-based artist Jakob Weidemann (1923-2001). The facade, created by late Norwegian artist Bård Breivik (1948-2016), is conceptually rooted in the sculptural idea of a shooting star, a dramatic symbol of the importance of Weidemann’s contribution to Norwegian painting.
The circulation through the Museum is significantly improved, with a new connection below the art garden enhancing the visitor experience.
Two new auditoriums were added to the Lillehammer Cinema and its existing circulation space was renovated. One auditorium is integrated in the existing building structure, and the second is located below the art garden, between the two existing buildings.
The integration of art, architecture, and landscape is an important feature in both Snøhetta and Erling Viksjø’s work. When Snøhetta designed the museum expansion in 1994, the spaces in between the buildings were transformed into an art garden in the firm’s first collaboration with artist Bård Breivik.
For the recent expansion, it has been important to again enhance these connecting spaces, bringing the three volumes together in one complete project