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Snøhetta designs the new Bergen Academy of Art and Design building

Bergen Academy of Art and Design are relocating its facilities into a new building designed by Snøhetta. Its completion is expected in May 2017.

Image © Snøhetta & MIR 

The internationally acclaimed Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta has designed the new building for Bergen Academy of Art and Design after winning a competition held by Statsbygg and the Ministry of Education and Research in 2005. Since then the construction plans have been revised in order to reduce costs. Construction finally began in Møllendal ten years later, in 2015. Once completed it will be the first time the art and design academy will have all its facilities located under one roof. Today the academy is spread over 5 buildings in the centre of Bergen.

Fact sheet
Building site: Møllendalsveien 61, Bergen
Building area 14,800 sqm
Start of construction: 2015, under construction
Completion: May 2017
Building cost: Approx. NOK 1,086 million (01.07.2015) (approx. 120 million Euros) 
Architect: Snøhetta
Developer and owner: Statsbygg
Client: The Norwegian Parliament by the Ministry of Education and Research
Consultant engineers: Rambøll

KHiB's new building is the first building by Snøhetta in Bergen. Once completed, it will be the city's second biggest cultural building after the Grieg Hall.

The new building is centrally situated in Bergen. The building complex will have a total floor space of 14,800 m2 at its disposal. One of the key features in the design by Snøhetta is a dedicated project hall where the academy plans to present projects and activities to a public audience. It is also designed to encompass a plethora of space-demanding activities. The facilities and equipment provided to students and academic staff will comply with the highest international standards in art and design education. There will be workshops for wood, ceramic, metal, paper, 3-D modelling, graphics, photo lab and foundries. The Snøhetta architects have set aside ample space for studio and work spaces, painting hall, lecture hall and flexible project spaces. There will be a public zone where the public will be given access to the project hall, the library, a material library and a cafe with outdoor seating on the academy's south-west facing terrace.

The façade will be made out of aluminium and in some places have cantilevered boxes, in the form of oriel windows that articulate themselves on the wall surfaces. The play with displacements of vertical surfaces in the project is a fundamental part of the form theme. The building's interior materials are carefully selected based on their durability and high aesthetic finish. It has been emphasized that the materials must withstand the harsh treatment they will be exposed to through KHiBs versatile activities. For instance, wood block flooring and white oiled plywood walls have been selected in the project hall. Examples of other materials are vinyl, polished concrete, fibre plaster, steel and raw aluminium. The architects of Snøhetta have purposefully chosen to play down the building's overall expression, thus, the aesthetic expressions arising from the core activities of the academy are prioritized. The resulting environment ensures optimal viewing conditions for projects, presentations and exhibitions.

The new institution is intended to be a generator to the new district Møllendal by contributing to its identity, and by being the main public institution in Møllendal. The site just in front of the academy is an open space, Kunstallmenningen, which will be a direct extension of the project hall. Adjacent to this open space there will be two areas of characteristic wetlands supplied by rainwater collected from the building's roof. The rainwater will first be directed into a distribution tank that again will supply water to the wetlands evenly during the year. Snøhetta's landscape architects have made a careful selection of plants for these areas. Across Møllendalsveien, there will be a large public space, Byalmenningen. By forming an axis from the building to the nearby bay, Store Lungegårdsvannet, these public places will provide a visual connection the Bergen city centre. Visualizations of the new building and surrounding area can be seen here.

Published: 3/22/2016 by Jane Sverdrupsen Updated: 8/2/2016 by Gard Andreas Frantzsen