Porsgrunn Maritime Museum: a Rooftop of Reflections


Architect: COBE
Location: Porsgrunn, Norway
Photography: Rasmus HjortshøjAdam Mørk

The city of Porsgrunn has a long maritime history of shipping and the unique development of the region is clearly visible in the existing building structure. Porsgrunn Maritime Museum shows a high level of sensitivity towards this existing historical context and picturesque nature, yet simultaneously creates something contrasting as a contemporary public building.


Taking into account the surrounding structure of historical, wooden, pitched-roofed buildings, the new museum is composed of tilted downscaled volumes assembled into a larger building unit. This creates a dynamic figure with pitched roofs in different directions, mirroring the surrounding roof structure.

The zigzag-shaped building has a charismatic aluminum façade, produced locally, which consists of smaller shingles that create a scaly surface, picking up reflections from the water. Depending on the weather, the colour of the façade appears different.

The functions of the building are simply organized: all exhibition facilities are on the first floor and all the official functions are located on the ground floor, making them easily accessible. This includes offices, shops and a sailor association.

The museum opened in 2013 and is the result of a competition held in 2009, which was won by Danish architects COBE and Transform in collaboration with Sweco engineers.


Client: Telemark Museum
Program: Maritime Museum and Science Center
Engineers: Sweco
Awards: Architizer A+ Awards 2015 Finalist, Mies van der Rohe Award 2015 Shortlist, Byggeskikkprisen 2013