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Petter Dass Museum, Alstahaug, Norway

In 2007, near the church of Alstahaug in Norway, a museum devoted to the 17th century famous Norwegian poet Petter Dass was opened. It was decided to build a museum near the church because Petter Dass was the vicar of the Alstahaug church from 1689 to 1707. This super-modern building was created by the architects of the Snohetta Company.

Construction of a new building near the Alstahaug church was quite difficult, because the church’s neighboring area has historical significance. To preserve the historic buildings and the whole area in their original form, the architects of Snohetta decided to make a cut in the landscape near the church which fitts the shape of the museum wih its size. Its shape resembles a clump, which is why the building is also called clump-museum. The total area of the museum is 1350 square meters.

There is a café and an auditorium on the ground floor and an exhibition hall on the second one. In the central part of the building were created rooms serving as a library and an office for administration. These rooms are designes as if they were hanging from the ceiling. The walls of the first floor are transparent and are exhibiting a view of the cut landscape, visible in the distance of less than a meter. The second floor is almost completely obscured by blind walls, and only the walls on the east and west sides are made of glass.

On the eastern side the glass wall opens to the Old church. The windows on the west side facing the shoreline with blue water view. As the website of the architectural company Snohetta states, they tried to create a building that will, like the works of Petter Dass, combine heaven and earth, past and present.

In general, the entire building has quite strange design. It’s absolutely does not fit into the atmosphere of an old, small and mountainous European village. It also does not look like a museum dedicated to a 17 century poet-churchmen. Petter Dass Museum is a vivid example of architectural trends of the 21st century, when modern technology and free forms are largely used for contemporary buildings.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


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