Established in 1964 within an Erling Viksjø-designed building highly representative of its era, the Lillehammer Art Museum and Cinema is perhaps best known for its starring role during the 1994 Winter Olympics, when the museum, along with its first major expansion completed by Snøhetta that year, was host to all related cultural activities for the duration of the Games. Today, a second major expansion designed by by Bård Breivik has added yet another cutting-edge modern gallery space and additional cinema to the museum, while seamlessly blending architectural elements borrowed from both previous structures.
The latest expansion features a polished metal box suspended above a glass entryway. The entire structure has been placed within the centre of the museum complex, and its reflective surface plays off the original and later structures present on the site. The expansion's design is based on the idea of art hovering above a transparent base. The new space is home to a children's workshop at ground level above which additional gallery space is arranged around a cantilevered hall wrapped in a dynamic metal facade.
Outside, a naturalistic water feature connects the various structures to one another, while referencing the natural beauty of Norway. Viewed to the left in the image above, the original 1960s-era structure can be seen in contrast to the 2016 expansion at the top left above the staircase. Below, the 1994 expansion can be seen front and centre, with the original Kino (Cinema Building) to the left acting as a reminder of the museum's 1960s origins. All three structures work togetherwith a common materiality and nature-inspired modernist sensibility.
The museum is home to three main collections. The first consists of more than 100 works by artists of the Matisse School, and was donated in 1920 by Einar Lunde. The second dates back to a 1958 donation by Oscar Johannesen, and features 19th-century art, while the third, consisting of 159 modern pieces, completes the collection. The latest addition will add a fourth group of yet-to-be determined works, along with the aforementioned children's workshop and cinema. Considered as a whole, the recently expanded Lillehammer Art Museum and Cinema serves as a holistic cultural space, the structure and works held within an amalgamation of Norwegian art, architecture, and culture.
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