The museum was established in 1964 in a Erling Viksjø-designed building that also contains the Lillehammer Cinema. In 1994, Snøhetta designed a first expansion to the museum that included the creation of a separate building, tying the 1960s aesthetic in with a more contemporary style.
In this second expansion, Snøhetta has linked the two institutions by creating an exhibition hall called the Weidemannsalen. The addition of two theaters as well as interior renovations to the cinema are also part of the project.
The expansion is based on the idea of "art hovering around a transparent base," according to Snøhetta. In the new space, a children's workshop at ground level is topped by a cantilevered hall wrapped in a metal facade.
The second floor houses a gallery devoted to the works of Jakob Weidemann, and the stainless-steel facade -- created by the Norwegian artist Bård Breivik, who died this year -- is a reference to Weidemann's work, using the idea of a shooting star to symbolize the artist's contribution to Norwegian painting.
For Snøhetta's first expansion of the museum, an art garden was created between the two buildings, in collaboration with Breivik. In this second expansion, one of two new Lillehammer Cinema auditoriums is located below the garden, where a new connection is planned to enhance the visitor experience.
The Cinema's entrance facade has been renewed, complimenting the style of the original building and highlighting a pre-existing wall featuring art by Odd Tandberg.
The aim of the expansion is to further connect separate spaces so that the museum, cinema and garden appear as one complete project that integrates art, architecture and landscape -- an important idea for both Erling Viksjø and Snøhetta.