Museum must reflect the adventure of hydropower development in Norway. The basic elements from which we take our cue are:
1) dams, the collection of water, the calm surface;
2) the vertical drop, the waterfall and its latent energy;
3) the culture that was born around the Norwegian waterways.
How are these elements treated in the
meeting between technology and nature? Which operations must be performed in order to generate as much energy as possible between the waterfall and the power line?
The landscape provides the necessary impulses for an architecture which describes the content of the museum. The museum is located close to the rock face. This gives opportunities for a structure that follows the steep formations of the rock and is anchored directly to the bedrock.
In the light that falls down the mountain face, we find motifs for the waterfall, the river, the turbines. In the floor we envisage «wells» for scale models – some filled with water from small «rivers» created in clefts in the floor. They are linked by realistic details from the development of hydropower technology. The long leading wall provides space for more abstract information through computers and video screens. The wall may also function as an information wall adjacent to the museum’s main entrance.
The large dimension in building design is represented by the city wall and the dam. The city wall which protects spiritual energy from the cruelties of nature, and the great wall of the dam which releases natural energy and gives the place its geographical freedom.
Here there was once a beautiful landscape with a grassy slope and a group of houses – an open landscape on a hill which is now hidden behind today’s artificial cultivation and casual growth. Building the National Waterways Museum enabled us to rediscover the old cultural landscape.