Norsk Skogfinsk Museum, Norway

Norwegian Forest Finn Museum

The Forest Finns immigrated from Finland into the area between Sweden and Norway in the 16th century. They were looking for sizeable swaths of uninhabited forest where they could practice slash-and-burn agriculture. By the end of the 16th century most of the immigration had stopped. During the next three centuries the Forest Finns were assimilated into the Norwegian society but kept there special cultural traits.

The project constitutes an attempt of bringing together both the material and non-material heritage of the Norwegian Forest Finns in a contemporary museum. The new museum consists of four straight forward timber buildings that are organised around a courtyard on an elevated stone plinth that can cope with the swelling of the neighbouring river. The building materials are sourced locally and joined together in a simple and robust structure which is equally informed by traditional timber construction as by modern technology.

The interior, cavelike space, is built on three experiential qualities that draw on the archeological remains of the Forest Finn building culture: the deep blackish-brown char pigmenting of the timber which is present in the interiors of traditional houses as a consequence of wood burning, the balanced raking light that draws the texture of the materials and gives an impression of being filtered through smoke, and the expressive load bearing structure that acts as a focal point, gesturing towards the sky alongside the smokehole (tag-lyre).

The resulting building is a spatial tension between tranquility and movement, between the airiness of the clearing in the woods in which the building is situated and the deep interior of the building.

Location: Svullrya, Norway
Status: Competition
Materials: Charred wood, Smoke & Light, Concrete
Images: Kolman Boye Architects