Statsbygg’s eco-conscious blueprint: Futurebuilt brilliance at the National Museum, Oslo

Photo: Statsbygg. New National Museum Oslo

The new National Museum in Oslo is a world-class museum building and the largest art museum in the Nordic region and was opened to the public in 2022.

FutureBuilt Project

The new National Museum is one of the few buildings that can call itself a FutureBuilt ideal project. Being part of a FutureBuilt collaboration requires the new National Museum to be a forward-looking building with environmentally friendly solutions that are long-lasting.

The building is to be seen as an ideal in terms of positioning, both to avoid unnecessary transport by car, being close to public transport and facilitating pedestrians and cyclists.

Reports will be prepared for FutureBuilt for several phases of the project that include associated greenhouse gas accounts and documentation of selected solutions.

High environmental standards

Statsbygg, publicly owned and the largest property owner in Norway, were pioneers in incorporating environmental requirements for materials from the project’s inception in 2014. At that time, there were only a few Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) available to calculate carbon footprint reduction from materials. The project manager at Statsbygg had to calculate carbon emissions from EPDs in PDF files, says Elin A. Hansen, project manager for the New National Museum.

With such a major player driving the initiative, the adoption of EPDs became more widespread.

Material selection and technical solutions make up a world-class museum building. The façade is clad in Norwegian slate. Inside solid materials such as slate, limestone, marble, bronze and both light and dark oak have been used. Custom-made Italian fittings and textile ceilings with high-quality LED lights will highlight and present the art in the best possible way.

High environmental ambitions will ensure substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the building. One of many ambitious solutions is a seawater heat pump from the Oslo fjord, which provides heating and cooling services for the museum. This will ensure significant energy savings.

Environmental Goals

Environmental goal: Greenhouse gas emissions

A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the building (CO2 footprint) in relation to a similar building built at current levels and without regard to environmentally friendly solution

Environmental goal: Energy

The building must satisfy a minimum energy level equivalent to passive housing (NS 3701).

In the operational phase, real energy use should be 200 kWh/m² year (gross area). The heating and cooling needs of the building are covered by a heat pump that uses seawater as an energy source. The heat pump is used as a base load for heating and district heating will be used as a top load.

Environmental goal: Material selection

The materials must be solid, age well and be easy to operate and maintain.

The choice of materials must contribute to reducing the stress on the external environment.

Selected materials must contribute to a good indoor climate.

Materials must not emit gases that are have a destructive effect on the museum collections.

Environmentally friendly material and product selection must be done with requirements for documentation of environmental properties and follow-up in all phases of the project.

Urban environment and architecture

The new museum is to contribute to a good urban environment with good quality of life and be of high architectural and environmental quality.

The outdoor area of the museum will be an arena in which the museum makes an active mark in the cityscape and communicates with the public both during and outside opening hours, with activity zones and facilitation for all visitors around the building.

Ideal properties

The project must be innovative, have a clear character and be well suited to viewing and profiling.

The building complex is to appear as a high-profile cultural building for Norway in general and in particular for Oslo as the capital of Norway.

The new museum complex with the building and outdoor facilities will be an attraction that makes a distinctive contribution to the Oslo cityscape and contribute green elements on the ground floor, roof terraces and other areas.

The project will be an ideal climate and energy project. See environmental goals.

The area and content of the museum

Facing the old station buildings, the piazza in front of the museum makes the museum an integral part of the city. The area features slate seating benches and there will be dining services available when the museum opens. There is also seating benches around the museum, along with green spaces.

The museum exhibits the full breadth of the largest and most valuable art collection in Norway. Where previously older and modern art, contemporary art and architecture and design were housed in three different museums around Oslo, they are now gathered under the same roof. The 5,000 works of art from the museum collection can be displayed in 89 different exhibition spaces in the new museum.

The signature space of the museum is the 2,400 m2, 130-metre long Light Hall that runs along the top of the building. It provides the museum with much needed space for presenting changing exhibitions by Norwegian and international artists.

The new and larger premises gives the National Museum better opportunities for managing its substantial art collection. The National Museum currently has a number of storage locations around Oslo. Now its be possible to gather all the art in one place. Employee workshops, conservation studios and office premises are located at the rear of the building.

Statsbygg new national museum Oslo

Statsbygg New National Museum Oslo Norway

Key facts

  • Client: The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture
  • User: National Museum
  • Principal: The Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property
  • Architect: Klaus Schuwerk / Office: Kleiheus+Schuwerk / Subcontractor: Dyrvik Arkitekter AS (local architect) and Østengen & Bergo (landscape architecture)
  • Advisors: Rambøll
  • Main contractors: HAB, AF and Caverion
  • Museum equipment project: Cadi og Kaels (interior architecture) and Goppion (display cases)
  • Gross building area: approx. 54,600 m2
  • Construction start/Completion: 2014/2020-21
  • Opening: 2022
  • Construction project cost framework: NOK 6.15 billion (2021)
  • Cost framework museum equipment project: NOK 619 million (2020)

Internal links

Cicular Ecodesign, Materials and the Value Chain

Eksternal references

Statsbygg Nytt nasjonalmuseum – Statsbygg

ISO 14001, EMAS and environmental performance: A meta-analysis. Artizar Erauskin-Tolosa et al., 2019.