A maritime landmark building
An architectural gem on the fjord
The completion of the first construction stage of the Norwegian Maritime Museum in 1958 breathed new life into Norwegian architecture. Through a total of five construction stages, it has emerged as a prominent landmark building.
With the buildings for the Norwegian Maritime Museum, the architects Trond Eliassen and Birger Lambertz-Nilssen and their partner Stein Nord showed that an exquisite choice of materials and a love of traditional masonry could be combined with modern designs and a rational organization of exhibition halls, restaurants and office facilities.
Handmade bricks, copper and oiled pine were the materials that these architects ‘rediscovered’ after a long period during which architecture was dominated by buildings of concrete, steel and glass. Diagonal wall panels, appealing bay windows and brick terracess often the impression of the building and connect it with the ground.
The architects sought at all costs to avoid giving the building the appearance of a mundane ‘box on a grasslawn’.
After the Boat Hall (1958) came the first stage of the main building with its Central Hall, offices, archives, library and facilities for visitors (1964).
The Triangle Building with its large exhibition halls was added in 1974. What cannot be seen is the fourth construction stage (1995), which houses facilities for divers, a conservation workshop and storage rooms. Above this level, the museum’s art collection, the ‘Gramsalen’, and the Temporary Exhibitions Hall were constructed in 2000.
In Norway, the architects Eliassen and Lambertz-Nilssen became the standard bearers for the new brick architecture, and the Norwegian Maritime Museum is one of their most iconic buildings. The 1958–1974 construction stages were awarded two prestigious prizes
- The A.C. Housen fund for excellent architecture
- Merchant Harald Sundt’s award for architecturally outstanding private buildings erected on Oslo city ground