Architect Renzo Piano’s Shard in London is one of the most iconic recent architectural feats of the historic city’s built environment. Whether loved or loathed, the Shard adds a dynamic and wholly unique aesthetic to the London skyline that continues to provoke conversation and challenge design norms.
Now, the Italian starchitect has created what is expected to be another iconic architectural feat, this time in Oslo Norway.
Commissioned by Selvaag Gruppen/Aspelin Ramm Gruppen, the ‘Astrup Fearnley Museet’ is a new museum of contemporary art designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The museum serves as a key connector between the city and its abutting waterfront.
The building does more, however, than simply stand on the shore. It is aptly nicknamed the ‘Comb-Over’ building, as water from the Fjord actually flows through the centre of the development. The museum is split into two halves, with a canal running through the middle, and a series of bridges linking the two sides.
The new building is an extension of the Aker Brygge development, which was built in the late 1990s. Its exterior has been clad completely in timber, and a double curved glass roof softens the building’s aesthetic and contextualises it into its waterfront surroundings.
The waterfront-based design inspiration is also seen in the building’s exposed structural support components, which mimic the rigging and other such support elements of the neighbouring sea vessels.
While these design features are noteworthy, it is the simplicity of the museum’s design that is truly impressing both industry members and the public. The museum’s unfussy nature complements the artistry within rather than overwhelming it.
“You must be really stupid if you do the same thing (architecturally),” Piano said in an interview with the Independent. “You have your language, yes, but you tell different stories.”
The building is currently open to the public.