Oslo Viking Ship Museum

Submitted in December 2015, our entry to the international competition for the new Viking Age Museum, Oslo, proposed a dynamic and innovative building that was also respectful to the sensitive context. An architecture of sophisticated and subtle design was proposed that was inspired by the stories of the collection and the architecture of the historic museum building.

The existing building was a partial realisation of an original design which included two courtyards. Our proposal was conceived as a modern re-interpretation of the concept for the original building. The design proposed a fluid form that swept from the wings of the existing building, creating a dynamic contemporary architecture that is also respectful of the existing and the wider context. An innovative timber roof structure was proposed with a subtly evolving organic form. This created landform like mounds externally, while defining a sequence of spaces internally within the Ship Hall.

Ship hall visualisation


Cut-away perspective visualisation
Ship hall visualisation

The Ship Hall was the heart of the proposal. A unique spatial experience, the Ship Hall was to extend the wings of the existing building to create a seamless, intuitive space connecting the old and new. The variation in the roof form created distinct volumes centred around the ships and icons of the collection.

Between the new and old buildings a circular courtyard space was proposed as an external exhibition and performance space. Low level windows to the Ship Hall would admit controlled daylight and provide a constant connection to the environment and seasons, from which the finds originated. Viewed from the courtyard the ships would appear as if moored at a quayside.

Tower viewing platform visualisation
Courtyard visualisation

The competition required a high level of detailed design to be developed. We called upon our museum experience to propose detailed plans and spatial relationships, meeting every requirement of the complex brief. A key deliverable of the competition was an interactive BIM model to demonstrate compliance with the functional requirements of the brief. This was developed in house and was a key design tool.

We were delighted and very grateful to have the support of the following organisations and individuals who contributed to our proposal:

Buro Happold – Structural and Environmental Design
Atelier 10 – Sustainability Design
Hoare Lea – Lighting Design
Harald Brekke – Norwegian Consultant Architect




Cut-away perspective visualisation
Ship hall visualisation