Two men scrutinising architectural plans.
From left: Joakim Skajaa, curator at the National Museum and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner and architect in Snøhetta
Photo: Oioioi/Snøhetta, 2024

The National Museum and the design and architecture firm Snøhetta are collaborating on digital innovation that will help to preserve and disseminate the documentation of architecture.

How can new technology and methods of digital publishing help to spread knowledge about architecture and make historical documentation available to a broad audience?

Can artificial intelligence increase interest in and raise awareness about the buildings around us?

These questions form the basis for the project “The Bibliotheca Alexandrina: Open Archive – Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Architecture”, initiated and managed by the National Museum’s architecture team and Snøhetta.

Innovation and digital technology

Young women taking a selfie in front of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.
Photo: Oioioi/Snøhetta, 2024

In this innovation project, the National Museum and Snøhetta aim to explore various possibilities for preserving and making architectural heritage available through the use of digital technology. The historical material used in the pilot project includes both analogue and digitally created artefacts relating to the “Bibliotheca Alexandrina” in Egypt, Snøhetta’s first major project, which began in 1989. The bulk of the material concerns the design process and is taken from Snøhetta’s archives. In addition, there is material created by others, reflecting a range of contexts and ownership structures.

In order to elicit ideas for new solutions, we will hold interdisciplinary workshops that draw together various sectors and relevant new technologies. The methods and results will probably challenge the established practices both of architectural firms and of archives and museums. The goal is to develop ideas of use not just to the archive and museum sector, but also – and not least – to today’s practicing architects and designers, both in Norway and internationally.

Relevant projects

Input and ideas are gathered from relevant projects under the direction of the private technology companies Piql, Made by ON, and Opening Hours, and the architecture firms MVRDV and the Norman Foster Foundation. Representatives for architecture education include the Technical University Delft, and the public archive and museum institutions Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, MoMA, New York, the National Museum, Oslo, and the National Archives of Norway.

The results of the project will be presented at an open seminar in late autumn 2024.

Project group

Birgitte Sauge, senior curator, National Museum and project manager for the innovation project
Joakim Skajaa, curator, National Museum
Martin Gran, partner, Snøhetta

The innovation project is financed by the National Archives of Norway under the Arkivspira scheme.