It would be an understatement to call the location for the new National Museum of Norway prominent. Situated close to the waterfront, in-between the city hall, the city centre and the new area of Akerbrygge, it occupies a prime position. The task of the new museum complex is to connect in a clever and sophisticated manner to the urban tissue, while at the same time reacting sensitively to the existing buildings on the site. As a national museum, of course it has to be an icon — but not an alien. It’s a new landmark, which not only fits into the city structure, but also complements it.By setting the two new volumes of the museum and the office building slightly back, we create asquare in-between the railway buildings and the museum, which functions as a sculpture gardenand also serves as a sheltered public forecourt. Instead of only cutting some space for the oldbuildings out of our volume and thus reducing them to leftovers, we decided to create a square onwhich the buildings stand as autonomous entities that complement the entire ensemble. The newmuseum building is big and sturdy enough to take a step back without losing its impact. There arefour entrances to the museum on all sides of the building which creates a lively outside space andgroundfloor area. All public functions — main entrance, library, museum shop, café and lobby —are situated on this level and have large glass fronts towards the square.The footprint of the building has the shape of a simple rectangle, composed of four triangles thathave been pushed together. These triangles represent the four departments of the museum. In thecentre of the composition of triangles, we cut out a large void, orientated in north-south direction.On a functional level, it serves as a large lobby, measuring 30 metres in height, 40 metres in lengthand 15 metres in width, around which all the spaces of the museum are arranged. As required, it’snot only the entrance area of the museum, but can also be used for receptions or for staging largeinstallations. Resembling the interior courtyard often found in classic museum buildings, itconnects to the roof, which is perforated with rooflights.The two characteristic elements are the controllable entry of daylight and the defining presence ofthe sloping roof. The roofline is always palpable, lends a unique identity to each of the exhibitionspaces without impeding their functionality and facilitates orientation within the exhibition area.It’s perforated to the maximum, but in order to enable excellent light management, there arelamellas under the roof windows. Their position can be adjusted, so the artworks aren’t exposed todirect light, or the room is even completely darkened.True North is at the same time a very systematic and a very playful museum design. Based on atriangle motif, which is remotely reminiscent of the murals by Henrik Sørensen in the town hall ofOslo and which re-appears on all scales of the building, it has a very clear identity, withoutbecoming a simplistic logo. Although unobtrusive in silhouette in order to contribute to and blendinto the city fabric, its elegantly shiny material and triangular structure make it a recognizablebuilding. This recognizability informs the outside as well as the inside of the museum, making itsinterior a white cube with identity – tributary to the artworks, but never generic.