The Twist is an Architectural-Art Form by Bjarke Ingel
Traversing the winding Randselva river, Bjarke Ingel Group’s (BIG’s) first project in Norway, The Twist, opened as an inhabitable bridge torqued at its center, forming a new journey and art piece within the Kistefos Sculpture Park.
The Twist is an architectural marvel that transcends from an art installation to a sculptural masterpiece and within Kistefos’ new 1,000 square meters contemporary art institution, it doubles as infrastructure to connect two forested riverbanks, completing the cultural route through northern Europe’s largest sculpture park.
Built around a historical pulp mill, The Twist is conceived as a beam warped 90 degrees near the middle to create a sculptural form as it spans the Randselva. Visitors roaming the park’s site-specific works by international artists such as Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, Lynda Benglis Yayoi Kusama, Jeppe Hein, and Fernando Botero, among others, cross The Twist to complete the art tour. As a second bridge and natural extension to the park, the new museum transforms the visitor experience while doubling Kistefos’ indoor exhibition space.
A simple twist in the building’s volume allows the bridge to lift from the lower, forested riverbank in the south up to the hillside area in the north. As a continuous path in the landscape, both sides of the building serve as the main entrance. From the south entry, visitors cross a 16-meter aluminum-clad steel bridge to reach the double-height space with a clear view to the north end, similarly linked with a 9-meter pedestrian bridge. The double-curved geometry of the museum is comprised of straight 40cm wide aluminum panels arranged like a stack of books, shifted ever so slightly in a fanning motion. The same principle is used inside with white painted 8cm wide fir slats cladding the floor, wall, and ceiling as one uniform backdrop for Kistefos’ short-term Norwegian and international exhibitions. From either direction, visitors experience the twisted gallery as though walking through a camera shutter.
“The twist is a hybrid spanning several traditional categories: it’s a museum, it’s a bridge, it’s an inhabitable sculpture,” explains Bjarke Ingels, “As a bridge it reconfigures the sculpture park turning the journey through the park into a continuous loop. as a museum, it connects two distinct spaces — an introverted vertical gallery and an extraverted horizontal gallery with panoramic views across the river. A third space is created through the blatant translation between these two galleries creating the namesake twist. The resultant form becomes another sculpture among the sculptures of the park.”
Straight aluminum panels — developed in collaboration with Baumetall — have been arranged like a stack of books to create the museum’s double-curved geometry, with the same principle used internally.
“Wherever you look, you see arches and curves, but when you look closer you realise that everything is created from straight lines — straight sheets of aluminum, straight boards of wood. An expressive organic sculpture composed of rational repetitive elements.”
Kistefos is one of Scandinavia’s largest sculpture parks and had around 46 sculptures by prominent Norwegian and international artists in 2019.
In the first years after its opening in 1999, the park was expanded mainly with contemporary Norwegian sculptures. After a few years, the sculpture park took an international turn, with the unveiling of sculptures and the installation of well-known international artists.
In 2005, the sculpture park changed further, where they unveiled the first work in the series of many commission and site-specific artworks. This means that the sculptures are made exclusively for Kistefos. The sculptures and installations are inspired by the industrial activity that once took place in the factory, the lush nature and the cultural history of the area.
In the years that followed, the park has been expanded annually with 1-2 large and spectacular site-specific sculptures. Kistefos has plans to unveil at least one sculpture every season in the years to come.
Name: THE TWIST
Size in m2: 1000
Project type: Invited Competition
Client: Kistefos Museum
Collaborators: AKT II, ÅF Belysning, AS Byggeanalyse, Baumetall Design, BIG Ideas, Bladt Industries, Brekke & Strand, Davis Langdon, DIFK, ECT, Element Arkitekter, Erichsen & Horgen, Fokus Rådgivning, GCAM, Grindaker, Lüchinger & Meyer, Max Fordham, MIR, Rambøll
Location Text: Jevnaker, Norway
Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, David Zahle
Project Leader: Eva Seo-Andersen
Project Architect: Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard
On the north end, a full-height glass wall offering panoramic views to the pulp mill and river tapers while curving upwards to form a 25cm wide strip of a skylight. Due to the curved form of the glass windows, the variety of daylight entering the museum creates three distinctive galleries: a wide, naturally lit gallery with panoramic views on the north side; a tall, dark gallery with artificial lighting on the south side; and, in between, a sculptural space with a twisted sliver of roof light. The ability to compartmentalize, divide or merge the gallery spaces create flexibility for Kistefos’ artistic programming. A glass stairway leads down to the museum’s lower level on the north river embankment, where the building’s aluminum underside becomes the ceiling for the basement and restroom area. Another full-width glass wall brings visitors even closer to the river below, enhancing the overall immersive experience of being in the idyllic woodlands outside of Oslo