A warped, aluminium cuboid, The Twist art museum doubles as a gravity-defying bridge, which spans a River in Norway. It will open this autumn. Anthony Pearce reports

Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the Kistefos Museum will sit above the Randselva River in the centre of the Kistefos Sculpture Park. Opened in 1996, the sculpture park was established on the site of a former paper mill about 80km from Oslo.

The new museum, known as the Twist and described as an “inhabitable bridge”, will open to the public on September 18, 2019.

The aluminium building will be accessible from both ends and will be filled with light from windows that start to distort in the middle of the structure around the twist. Interiors are clad with Douglas fir timber, which is painted white.

“We were instantly fascinated by the dramatic landscape of Kistefos – the winding river, forested riverbanks, and the steep topography,” Bjarke Ingels said. “Our proposal for a new art museum acts like a second bridge in the sculpture park, forming a continuous loop across both riverbanks.The Twist by Bjarke Ingels Group“With the inhabited bridge, we stumbled upon our first experiment with social infrastructure – a building that serves as a bridge – or a cultural institution that serves as a piece of infrastructure.”

“The museum visit itself will be a bridge, not a goal – and the exhibits inside an interior extension of the promenade through the Sculpture Park,” said Ingels. “A simple twist in the building’s volume allows the bridge to lift from the lower forested area towards the south, up to the hillside area in the north,” he said.

The museum will host an international programme of contemporary art exhibitions, starting with “Hodgkin and Creed – Inside Out,” showing until November 17, 2019.

Norwegian businessman and art collector Christen Sveaas founded the sculpture park on the former site of his family wood pulp business in the 1990s.

It showcases works by artists such as Tony Cragg, Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn, Jeppe Hein, Philip King, Ilya Kabakov and Lynda Benglis. The most recent work, Shine of Life by Japan’s Yayoi Kusama, was unveiled in May.

Sveaas said: “After many years of planning and development, we’re delighted to be opening this beautiful new space, the Twist, at Kistefos, which will allow us to expand our work with leading contemporary artists and welcome more visitors than ever before.

“Our ambition is to make Kistefos a must-see cultural destination with a world-class temporary exhibition and sculpture park program to complement the rich industrial heritage of the site.”

The debut exhibition pairs the work of Howard Hodgkin (1932–2017) with that of Martin Creed. It is curated by Guy Robertson and will also feature a selection of work from the Christen Sveaas Art Collection.

Bjarke Ingels is currently working with Thomas Heatherwick, the British designer who created the Olympic Cauldron and the Vessel in New York, on Google’s new Californian headquarters.

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