The Hamsun Centre, built to celebrate the most famous Norwegian author, combines exceptional architecture with unique technical solutions.
The Hamsun Centre was opened on the 4th of August 2009 – 150 years after Knut Hamsun’s birth. The idea of building a national centre arose already in 1994. In 1996, the well-known architect Steven Holl made a proposal to Nordland county authority of a centre at Presteid, Hamarøy. The model drew a lot of attention and was bought by MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York.
The designing was announced autumn 2006, and Ramboll was selected to handle all the consultative subjects.
Desire to challenge traditional solutions
Architectural design of the building demanded quite untraditional solutions to keep within the existing regulations when building the centre. According to Technical Regulations, The Hamsun Centre was not compatible with the pre-accepted solutions. The fire consultant used an advanced simulating tool (ANSYS CFX) to verify that the selected solutions satisfied functional requirements that Technical Regulations demand of people’s and value safety. Good cooperation between all involved parts, and a desire to challenge traditional solutions, were vital factors in this particular project.
Big, open room with oblique lines
The centre consists of two buildings: a main building with seven floors and an auditorium on the ground floor. The main building houses a large exhibition area, a reception, a café, a library, a shop, a locker room, a restroom and administration. Inside there is a large room stretching six floors up, with a base area of 210 m2. Every line in the building is oblique. The building is adaptive to a completely digitalized exhibition concept by its flexible technical solutions.
The auditorium has a base area of 370 m2, and consists of a large scene-room parted in a general public amphitheater and a scene floor. The room is made up of a steel construction, clad with horizontal, black-pickled wainscot on the outside.
A complex support system
The building is a cast in situ construction with oblique walls. It’s quite a complex support system with many bracket elements, oblique constructions and support system adapted to the architect´s wishes. In the beam system it is used post-tensioning cables, while the remaining concrete construction is reinforced. It's large areas with visible concrete, both walls and floors, are stringent surface demands. Floor, stairs and remaining integral cast are ground, black concrete.