Designed by the Danish architecture offices COBE and TRANSFORM, the new Maritime Museum and Science Center in Porsgrunn, Norway conveys Norway’s transformation from a seafaring nation to a modern society based on knowledge industry. The iconic character of the new Maritime Museum and its attractive location at the river close to the city center makes this new building a natural landmark for the city. Furthermore, the new museum building is the first step towards a big new master plan development for Porsgrunn City Center, also designed by COBE and TRANSFORM. Construction for the building recently began and is expected to be completed in autumn 2012. More image and architects’ description after the break.
The city of Porsgrunn has a long maritime history of shipping and the unique development of the region is clearly visible in the existing remarkable building structure of the area. The concept of the museum shows a high level of sensitivity towards the existing small buildings yet simultaneously stands out as a contemporary public building.
Taking into account the surrounding building structure, the new building is composed of 9 smaller building volumes with tilted and pitched roofs that are assembled into a larger building unit. A characteristic aluminum façade outlines the shape of the building and provides a vivid impression by reflecting the lights and colors of the surrounding landscape. All public functions of the building are situated on the ground floor and have direct access to the outdoor areas including the new promenade towards the river. The central entrance area is the building’s main room from where all other rooms are distributed. This multifunctional space is defined by a central characteristic staircase that folds down from above and invites visitors upstairs to the large, enclosed exhibition area. Here various room heights and a distinct ceiling line emphasizes an airy and continuous space. The exhibition space is composed as an open flexible space, gently subdivided by the roof into 9 different spatial experiences. The 9 spatialities can be separated or combined thereby providing a sound functional setting for small and large exhibitions.