Lonely Planet Writer

World’s oldest Viking ships will be displayed in new museum extension in Oslo

A Viking museum in Oslo will get a new circular extension that will give visitors a new close-up experience with the world’s oldest Viking ships.

Design for the Viking Age Museum by AART Architects.
Design for the museum by AART Architects. Image by AART Architects

A design by AART Architects, which has offices in Norway and Denmark, has been officially selected from a global competition to create the Viking Age Museum, an extension of an existing museum which includes in its collections the world’s oldest Viking ships.

Design for the Viking Age Museum by AART Architects.
Design for the museum by AART Architects. Image by AART Architects

The competition was launched back in 2015, but the winning design has now been announced. The design will create a loop between two museum wings and create an inner courtyard which can be used for open air activities.

Design for the Viking Age Museum by AART Architects.
Design for the museum by AART Architects. Image by AART Architects

The existing Viking Ship Museum is one of the country’s most popular attractions, containing the 9th-century Viking ships Oseberg and Gokstad, which are the best preserved in the world. The ships were later used as tombs for nobility and were excavated at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th. The existing structure was built in 1926 by Arnstein Arneberg, who was a leading Norwegian architect in his time.

Design for the Viking Age Museum by AART Architects.
Design for the museum by AART Architects. Image by AART Architects

According to the architectural firm’s website, the new extension’s bold, circular shape will “create a new iconic signature for the museum, while making room for an intuitive flow of exhibitions and preserving the Viking Ship Building as a prominent, totally integral part of the new museum and the surrounding countryside”. The ships will be housed in the new extension, and as the design features two levels, visitors will be able to walk along the open corridors on the upper level and also move down to the same level of the ships to have a more in-depth experience. Construction on the project is not set to begin until 2020, according to Architectural Digest.