Munch Museum completes in Oslo and gears up for autumn opening

Oslo's Munch Museum, designed by Spanish architecture firm Estudio Herreros, has been completed ahead of its official opening on 22 October 2021

Modern architecture building
(Image credit: ADRIÀ GOULA)

Its glistening façade reflecting gently on the Oslo seafront waters in Norway, the much-awaited Munch Museum, designed by Spanish architecture firm Estudio Herreros, has just been completed and is gearing up towards its public opening on 22 October 2021. Created to host the extensive body of work of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, the building, set in the city’s growing Bjørvika district, cuts a distinctly contemporary figure, while adding a key cultural destination to the global art and architecture map.

Upon opening, the project will be the one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to a single artist. With over 26,700 works in its collection and 11 galleries to play with, the institution will, for the first time in its history, have ample space to display Munch’s work – including his large-scale murals (such as, The Sun, completed in 1909, which stretches nearly 8m). The exhibits will also include several versions of Munch’s iconic paintingThe Scream.

A contemporary architecture building.

(Image credit: ADRIÀ GOULA)

Located a stone’s throw from another Oslo waterfront landmark, the Snøhetta-designed opera house, the museum stands 13 storeys tall. Clad in perforated, translucent aluminium that was selected specifically for its ability to reflect the colours and weather changes of the Oslo skies, its sharp-looking, geometric shape is mirrored elegantly on the fjord’s surface. Meanwhile, higher up, an outdoor terrace allows visitors to take in the landscape and the cityscape beyond. A restaurant is located on the 13th floor. 

The building boasts strong sustainability ceredentials, created as part of the city’s FutureBuilt programme (an ‘Oslo-wide initiative to halve greenhouse gas emissions across the city’, explain its creators). Recycled materials were used where possible, and energy-saving techniques throughout help lower the scheme’s overall carbon footprint.

Come October, the programme of events at the museum will launch with concerts, literature readings, performance and art workshops; all this on top of the permanent and temporary exhibitions within. The aim is to embed the museum in its community and the wider new cultural district of Bjørvika around it. The first show there, ‘Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul’, is set to explore Munch’s influence on Emin. 

A contemporary modern building

(Image credit: ADRIÀ GOULA)

Luxury interior of modern building

(Image credit: ADRIÀ GOULA)

An exterior view of building.

(Image credit: ADRIÀ GOULA)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

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