Petter Dass Museum

by | 08. Aug 2012

Cultural | Project

Photo courtesy Snøhetta


Peter Dass is one of Norway’s most important and beloved poets. He was also the Vicar at Alstahaug Church from 1689 until his death in 1707.


Photo courtesy Snøhetta

The strong historical importance of the surroundings made the task of locating and designing a new building on the site sensitive and very challenging.


Photo: Åke E:son Lindman

The project involved designing a new museum building, a landscape plan for the surrounding site, parking facilities, and a service building.

Snøhetta’s team decided to make a cut in the landscape to create a new site. This cut allowed a freestanding building which in volume balances the mass removed. This bold solution creates a new but humble relationship to the historical sites, as well as allowing an expressive architecture. In this way the new museum contributes to visualize the historical span from the origin of the church to our time.


Photo: Åke E:son Lindman



Photo: Åke E:son Lindman

The site is defined by two 70 meter long wire-cut rock walls 15.5 meters apart. Between these walls a new ground level is established. The museum itself is 11.5 meters wide creating a 2 meter clearance to the rock wall on either side. This open space reveals a new sight line and allows the visitors to circulate between the building and the rock walls.


Photo: Åke E:son Lindmann



Photo: Åke E:son Lindman



Photo: Åke E:son Lindman

Snøhetta’s overall intention has been to integrate the building with the landscape by letting the roof section relate to the section of the terrain. The transparent walls of the museum’s ground floor emphasizes the relationship between the landscape and the building. At both ends of the closed and “floating” volume there are large glass surfaces, offering views towards the church on one side and towards the sky on the other.


Photo: Åke E:son Lindman



Drawing courtesy SnøhettaSite Plan


Drawing courtesy SnøhettaFloor Plan


Drawing courtesy SnøhettaSection

Through this visual contact the building represents a relationship between the historical site representing the past, and the view towards the sky representing the future. The museum building itself represents the present and links Petter Dass’s achievements to our time, 300 years after his death.