With the second museum building win for AART architects, it is timely that we talk to founding partner Anders Tyrrestrup about his thoughts behind these special buildings. The latest competition that AART architects won is to design the new visitor centre at the Old Bergen Museum in Bergen, Norway. This is a special place to dive into our cultural heritage while acknowledging the currents of today.
“In today’s modern society, museums should be thought of as learning spots, interacting with visitors in new ways than in traditional museums. Thus, we want to remove the dusty image from classic museums and utilise a more dynamic architectural approach, focused on stimulating the desire to learn and enhancing the visitor experience. Also, it’s a social task to communicate our cultural heritage in new and interesting ways, so hopefully our architecture can contribute to this.”
That is how Anders Tyrrestrup, one of the founding partners of AART architects, describes the main purpose for two of their recent winning projects – the Viking Age Museum in Oslo and the visitor centre at the Old Bergen Museum. To him, it’s very important to respect both the social and historical context when doing these kinds of prestigious cultural projects.
“I strongly believe that a museum building is all about conveying and connecting. It is about conveying information and shedding new light on our cultural heritage, while at the same time providing people with the opportunity to connect and come together in new ways.”
Bringing a new dimension to museums and their urban surroundings plays a big part in the design work at AART architects.
“We want to create a sense of community and belonging – socially and historically. This also implies that rare sense of authenticity, which is an integral part of our design approach. In every project, we thus make a virtue of working respectfully within the historic frames that are put up”, Anders Tyrrestrup tells.
Photo by AART architects
The upcoming visitor centre at the Old Bergen Museum is a result of AART architects’ way of thinking. The winning project involves connecting three saddle roof houses to be built from natural materials, such as wood and tile, to fit into the existing background as much as possible. With their winning bid, AART architects want to enrich the visitor experience when arriving at the museum and make it a big part of the overall general impression visitors will form when they visit the museum; and furthermore, the project is ambitious.
“With the new visitor centre, we have created a gathering space because that’s the power of architecture – the ability to create an inspiring meeting point, where people can drop by or meet up. The building is very dynamic and it can be used for everything, from exhibitions to concerts. As architects, our finest aim is to inspire all kinds of people regardless of their age or background. That is what this building is all about”, Tyrrestrup explains.
Besides the obvious purpose of housing different works of arts and cultural artefacts, the museum buildings play another important role – the learning part. When AART architects develop new concepts for buildings, such as the Viking Age Museum or the visitor centre at Old Bergen Museum, they think in the same direction as when they make schools. The architecture is more than just a frame, it is an opportunity to enrich the learning experience.