Henning Larsen designs cassette-inspired Arctic museum for Tromsø

Danish architect Henning Larsen has revealed its design for the Arctic Museum of Norway in Tromsø, which is set to become one of the world’s northernmost attractions.

The firm will work alongside Danish consultant Cowi and fellow Copenhagen designer SLA on the 19,700 sq m museum, which aims to draw visitors from the city centre to the seafront.

The project’s largest exhibition hall will contain the suspended skeleton of a blue whale, and there will also be a 200-capacity auditorium, study rooms, research facilities, and other exhibition spaces for Tromsø University’s cultural artefacts and natural history archives.

The structure is split in two, containing a solid base wedged into a hilltop and four crowing translucent spaces. Henning Larsen says their facades are inspired by the design of cassette tapes, and appear opaque in daylight but transform into glowing waterfront beacons at night.

The museum is arranged in a clover pattern, with exhibition halls surrounding a pedestrian path that cuts through the building’s centre. A public gathering space inspired by an amphitheater’s stairs is located facing the water.

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, a partner in Henning Larsen, said: "While modern, the design builds on the language of local heritage to create a glowing landmark that will be a beacon for the island city. Despite being such a visible presence in the city, Tromsø’s waterfront is largely absent from the public realm."

Construction on the project is due to begin at the beginning of 2023.

Images courtesy of Henning Larsen

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