Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter creates spiky roofline for Romsdal Folk Museum in Norway

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Oslo studio Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter has completed a pine-clad cultural museum in western Norway, featuring a spiky roofline designed to help break up the scale of the building (+ slideshow).

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

The Norwegian firm envisioned the Romsdal Folk Museum as not only a cultural institution but also an "architectonic attraction" for the town of Molde.

The 3,500-square-metre building will be used to host concerts, workshops and lectures, alongside its exhibits about Norwegian culture.

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

The structure is constructed primarily of pine wood, with the external walls and roof made from planks of the oil-treated timber and supported only where necessary by steel beams.

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

The roof is fragmented into a series of zigzags, intended to reference the town's existing pitched-roof architecture.

The structure culminates in a tall asymmetric spire, not dissimilar to the form chosen by the firm for a church further along Norway's western coast.

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects



"Our intention in this project was to let the structure signal its meaning and function through an architectural expression and the use of local materials," explained Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter. "The scale of the building refers to the urbanity and morphology of the town."

"The architectural form brings together the region's folk culture and the area's characteristic landscape qualities in a larger composition."

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Rather than adhering to a traditional all-white aesthetic for the galleries, the studio created "black boxes" that are intended to give curators control over the artificial lighting of these areas.

Galleries, an auditorium and library are placed at ground level, and these public areas are separated from the administration wing that occupies a portion of both the lower and upper floors.

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

The museum's archives and workshops are located in the basement, and transported to and from the upper floors via a large goods lift.

Large sliding doors separate the permanent and temporary exhibits, giving the option to combine or separate the collections.

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

"The plan geometry is deceptively simple, the characteristic angled shapes are limited to the roof and the external wall, making the circulation and internal organisation clear and flexible," said the architects.

The building is naturally lit by a combination of vertical strip windows and recessed glazing, some of which have been silk-printed with colours and patterns.

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter initially won a competition to design the Romsdal Folk Museum in 2007 and completed construction in 2016.

It joins a cultural centre designed by Danish architects 3XN for the town in 2012, which has stone bleachers on its roof that allow visitors to take in outdoor concerts.

Photography is courtesy of Erik Hattrem and Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter.

Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects
Site plan – click for larger image
Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects
Floor plan – click for larger image
Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects
Section one – click for larger image
Romsdal Folk Museum by Reiulf Ramstad Architects
Section two – click for larger image
  • Daniel

    The overdone and unnecessary Instagram effect gives it an unreal render look to an otherwise quite remarkable building. Props to the design team, not so much to the photographer.

    • Thomas

      At first I thought they were renderings.

    • Chris MacDonald

      Totally disagree. It’s nice to see someone trying to do something different with their photography.

    • disqus_03Plop9NUg

      They are renderings. Images courtesy of MIR. It is on every article on all media sites. MIR is the best rendering firm in the world.

  • Archi-Nerd

    Love it!

  • Leo

    I love the zigzag roof.

  • Concerned Citizen

    It really looks like a church.

  • Erik Hattrem

    Just to inform. It is not renderings. It is real photography. Even more real photography, or more puristic than what many believe. The photos are made with a Sinar large format camera (4×5″) and Hasselblad 6×6 medium format.

    The films in use are the Kodak Portra 160 and Portra 400 and in black and white, Kodak Plus-X125. The films are developed by hand in a darkroom. And the black and white photographs are repros of chemical prints made in the darkroom on Foma IV123 braytha paper.

    The C41 films are scanned on a ICG365I drumscanner and retouched in Photoshop. The large scans (300DPI @ 1000%) really bring out the resolution, sharpnes, dynamic range, clarity and tonality in the large format sheet film. This was pretty normal things to do in architecture photography until digital cameras came along. But some photographers are still doing it in this time consuming and skill-demanding way. Such as Benny Chan.

    • ChocFrog

      Well done: beautiful, soaring architecture and damn fine photography.

    • Albert Gérard

      Erik, very informative. Are the Photoshop ‘retouches’ stylised at all? Or in your opinion is the image effect mostly in-camera?

      • Erik Hattrem

        I can try to upload a raw-scan to compare. But in words: a high-end scan of Kodak Portra 160 gives a very low contrast image with extreme dynamic range. It is pretty muted in colour and if shot in overcast daylight pretty “grey”.

        Night-time tungsten is yellow and outdoor is coloured by all moon or other artificial lights. So the night shoots are all colour balanced in Photoshop, dust removal and local/global contrast adjusted. Some distortions as a back end of a car is removed.