Creating a Hub for People, Photography and Experiences

January 2024 . . . In 2027, the old Deichman main library in Oslo will be resurrected as a photo museum, restaurants, and the city's major meeting place. Møller Eiendom purchased the building from the Oslo Municipality in 2020 and has brought together Lundhagem architects, interior architects Paulsen & Nilsen and GrecoDeco to handle the transformation, in close collaboration with Byantikvaren - Oslo´s Cultural Heritage Office.

"The building is part of the city's heart - a treasure. That is why we have put together a stellar team that can manage the cultural heritage while powering into a new era, for new uses and a wider audience. We will give Oslo more than 13,500 square meters of space, including a permanent home for the Møller Collection - Norway's largest private photo collection, whose exhibits will change throughout the year. In addition, a photo museum hosting national and international exhibitions, along with dining and meeting venues will also emerge in the new library. After almost one hundred years of whispering in the library, we are finally going to turn up the volume," says Siri Løining, Concept and Development Manager for the project at Møller Eiendom.

Siri Løining, Concept and Development Manager for the project at Møller Eiendom

The Next Step in the History of the "House of Stairs"

The building, designed by Nils Reiersen, modeled after American classic libraries, was nicknamed "Trappehuset" (House of Stairs), when it opened in 1933 because of its complex layout of floors, levels and corridors. Over the years it was expanded and altered several times before the new Deichman Library moved to Bjørvika and opened in 2020. Now the original details and furniture will be restored and Aksel Revold's famous fresco - Technology, Science Poetry - in the main hall is being painstakingly rehabilitated. Previously unknown rooms will also be opened and adapted and in 2027, Oslo denizens will be able to enjoy event and exhibition spaces, meeting rooms and dining venues.

"It's an amazing project! A building in the middle of the city, which everyone has a relationship with! We will combine the high dignity of the large halls with the roughness of archive rooms that have never been open to the public. It is a big challenge to make a building with almost no right angles work well for today's needs. At the same time, it is a gift to have original qualities and colors lifted, and to fill the house with light and lots of life," says architect Tomas Rønhovde at Lundhagem.

A Creative Trio in Collaboration with the Directorate for Cultural Heritage

Lundhagem are the architects behind the new, award-winning Deichman library in Bjørvika and, through their knowledge of the building's history, have been involved in Møller Eiendom's project from the very beginning. Lundhagem also has experience with conversion projects and buildings worthy of preservation, such as the former American Embassy in Oslo by Eero Saarinen. There they have worked closely with the interior architects Paulsen and Nilsen, who will be responsible for the design of the photo museum along with a diverse selection of restaurants and bars.

Also on the team is New York based GrecoDeco, the visionary minds behind the design at award-winning hotel Sommerro, which will refine architect Reiersen's specially designed furniture and interiors into a timeless, inclusive, and playful whole. Original reading lamps will illuminate new generations while former bookcases and magazine shelves will be given new functions and new meaning.

Top to bottom: Tomas Rønhovde + Ingjerd Daae Dring of Lundhagem, Mariann Paulsen + Kristine Nilsen of Paulsen & Nilsen, GrecoDeco - Chris Ogren + Adam Greco

"In this project, we have had excellent cooperation from day one. Everyone involved has respect for the extraordinary qualities inherent in the building and a desire to achieve new uses and further development without compromising. Regular dialogue creates trust and makes it possible to think proactively and, in a solution-oriented way," says Ellen Hole at Oslo municipality's Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

At the Crossroads of Power and Culture

Located in the heart of the city center, a newly constructed Government Building Complex and the surrounding Hammersborg neighborhood area are undergoing a massive transformation. The area, which was damaged after a terror attack in 2011, is finally reconstructed into large car-free quarters to by 2027 once again house the Prime Ministries office, ministries, and thousands of government workers.

A large public park will serve as an urban oasis in the heart of the city. The library garden, with outdoor seating and direct access to cafés and bars, will be incorporated into this new green hub.

Oslo has finally taken its place within the Nordics as a destination for art and architecture, with the Opera House and the newly opened National and MUNCH Museums. Not to be overlooked is a vibrant food scene with 11 Michelin starred restaurants and one of the ‘50 of the World’s Best Bars’ of 2023. The planned world class photo museum will underscore the rise of the city’s cultural offerings - all of which contributes to Oslo’s reputation as becoming a cultural hotspot.

"So many new and exciting things are being built and created throughout the Hammersborg area. The district is perfectly located, where east meets west, politics meets culture and power meets the people. In the middle of this, the old library building will be a hub for new meetings and impressions. We are very much looking forward to telling you more about what the building will be called and what we will fill it with, including a small surprise in the attic," concludes Løining.

ContactSiri Løining, Concept and Development Manager for the old Deichmanske Library project at Møller Eiendom or +47 480 98 814