Saving Oseberg – The Viking Ship Museum

Typology:  Cultural, Transformation

Location:  Bygdøy, Oslo, Norway

Year:  2015

Status:  Competition entry, Purchased

Size:  11.000 m2

Client:  Statsbygg


Thea Kvamme Hartmann, Florian Kosche Dipl.-Ing., Donatas Grinius

Team:  Tora Arctander, Ingeborg U. Barlaup, Marit Justine Haugen, Dan Zohar

"What are the rules of game for adjoining a 7000m2 new museum to an unique historical building?"

Norway has one of the most extensive archaeological collections from the Viking era. Arnstein Arnebergs famous building was built around the most iconic pieces, the Osebergship, the Gokstadship and the Tuneship, along with many other invaluable and fragile items.


Moving the Oseberg-ship, and the sleighs found with it, into a new building represent a great hazard to them because of their frail state. The premise for our proposal is therefore keeping these items exactly where they are, as main pieces in the Arneberg-building. The building is given a prominent and integral place in the new museum complex. “Saving Oseberg” emerges as a distinct and unique museum with and architectural form and materiality that resonates the Nordic.


The proposal's inspiration is a method used in archaeological excavations. Mimicking the Wheeler-Kenyon-method a grid, whose size is defined by the existing museum, is superimposed on the site thus providing a flexible but clear framework for defining museum logistics, building volumes and the landscape itself. The gridlines provide open paths for the public through the site, regardless of opening hours, and allows the museum to connect to the adjacent Folkemuseum on two borders.


Architecturally we aim to create a museum that offer contemporary and modern spaces suited for displaying and experiencing the Viking era. A variety of exhibition spaces, all connected through a figure-eight loop through the old and the new building, provide an inspirational environment for education and museum learning. The Oseberg ship remains a centre point for the exhibition and its importance is enhanced through a vast staircase leading the visitors up from below. It allows them to see the ship from a distance before experiencing it up close.

Main entrance situation showing relationship between the old museum and the new addition.


Landscape plan

The roofscape garden becomes an attraction in and of itself.

Organization of program


Plan - Ground Floor

Interior situation

Birds-eye view

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