Petter Dass Museum

When creating the Petter Dass Museum in Alstahaug, Norway, Snøhetta faced two problems: how to honour the poet and writer who holds such a legendary position in Nordic psyche, and how to place a contemporary building in a site of extreme historical importance. They got round the latter by placing the building in a cutting, slightly hidden from Dass’s church by a band of trees, and used the granite of the cutting’s sides as a guide to a long, elegant and monumental building which mimics the displaced volume and is therefore surprisingly neat and not at all overbearing. The Museum’s roof and first floor are in a ‘cocoon’ relating to the surrounding terrain, while the ground floor is made of glass. A two-metre space around the building allows people to walk round it and examine the granite cutting. Inside the building is very clean, allowing the outside to speak up: one can look across the stunning coastal landscape, or down towards the medieval Alstahaug church.

Photography: Aake E Lindman

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