Knut Hamsun Center 
Dedicated to Norway’s most inventive twentieth-century writer and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the 2,700m 2 Knut Hamsun Center is located above the Arctic Circle by the village of Presteid of Hamarøy, near the farm where Hamsun grew up. The building includes exhibition areas, a library and reading room, a cafe, and a 230 seat auditorium for museum and community use. Influenced by Hamsun’s explorations of the intricacies of the human mind, the building is conceived as an intensified compression of spirit in space and light, and as the realization of a Hamsun character in architectonic terms. Inspired by passages of the Norwegian writer’s texts, Holl has created spaces which allude to Hamsun’s prose:  an ‘empty violin case’ deck;  a viewing balcony is like a ‘girl with sleeves rolled up polishing yellow panes.’ The concept for the museum, “Building as a Body: Battleground of Invisible Forces,” is realized from both inside and out. The wood exterior is punctuated by hidden impulses piercing through the surface.  The concrete structure with stained white interiors is illuminated by diagonal rays of sunlight calculated to ricochet through the section on certain days of the year.  Strange, surprising and phenomenal experiences in space perspective and light will provide an inspiring frame for the exhibitions. The tarred black wood exterior skin alludes to Norwegian Medieval wooden stave churches, and in the roof garden, long chutes of bamboo refer to traditional Norwegian sod roofs. The spine of the building body, constructed from perforated brass, is the central elevator, providing handicapped and service access to all parts of the building. The building includes a community auditorium. The auditorium is connected to the main building via a passageway accessed through the lower lobby, which takes advantage of the topography, allowing for natural light along the circulation route. The first design of the centre was presented by architect Steven Holl in 1994.  The building has survived ongoing controversy.  In 2005, the original design was reinstated with the support and dedication of Alf Einar Øien and Aaslaug Vaa and in close collaboration with Oslo-based LY Arkitekter. The centre opened to the public on 4 August 2009, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Knut Hamsun’s birth 


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