The Hamsun Centre with the yellow glass balcony above the auditorium roof.
Knut Hamsun, Norway’s most inventive 20th-century writer, created new forms of expression in his first novel, Hunger. He went on to found a truly modern school of fiction with his works Pan, Mysteries, and Growth of the Soil. This centre dedicated to Hamsun is located above the Arctic Circle near the village of Presteid on Hamarøy near the farm where the writer grew up. The 2300 sq.m. centre includes exhibition areas, a library and reading room, a café, and an auditorium. The building is conceived as an archetypal and intensified compression of spirit in space and light, concretizing a Hamsun character in architectonic terms. The concept for the museum, “Building as a Body: Battleground of Invisible Forces,” is realized both inside and outside. Here, the wood exterior is punctuated by hidden impulses piercing through the surface: An ”empty violin case”-balcony has phenomenal sound properties, while a viewing balcony is like the ”girl with her sleeves rolled up polishing yellow panes.” Many other aspects of the building use the vernacular style as inspiration for reinterpretation. The stained black wood exterior skin is characteristic of the great Norwegian stave churches. On the roof garden, long grass alludes to traditional Norwegian sod roofs in a modern way. The rough white-painted concrete interiors are characterized by diagonal rays of light calculated to ricochet through the section on certain days of the year. These strange, surprising, and phenomenal experiences in space, perspective and light provide an inspiring frame for exhibitions.