The museum has until now had offices and parts of the collections in old, small and temporary buildings. The concept of the new museum is to collect and put together ideally and literally all these building in one and unique big house, representative of the Forest Finns culture. A building that could be attractive to local and international tourists but also to researchers and institutions.
The wooden facade recalls the traditional block-house system and at the same time it looks like a typical woodpile: a common element in the Nordic communities, included the Forest Finns, that could be considered as a symbol of their qualities
The building is located at the centre of the plot, perpendicularly to the main road, so as to be visible from both directions and to follow the site topography. The longitudinal axis follows the Rotna river that establishes an abstract link with the Finnetunet. Three different didactic fields are designed along the southern corner. These fields, cultivated for ryes, turnips and cabbages, are conceived as part of the exhibition and they helps designing the landscape around the museum.
From the parking area a direct path brings towards the main entrance and, through the hall, to a cantilevered pier over the Rotna river. From here, during the summer, small barges could carry visitors to Finnetunet. From the east side, some natural paths bring to the old mill and to the Kverndammen further north; others, towards south, through the didactic fields and crossing the road, brings to the Finnetunet.
The building looks like a set of wooden terraced houses, each one with different dimensions and slightly different features. Each “house” corresponds inside to distinct functions. The central hall crosses the whole museum: two glazed walls - one on the main front, the other towards the river - and the flooring design give great continuity between exterior and interior. This central representative space constitutes the core of the building, a sort of foyer for the public activities and the administrative functions.
The large exhibition space is characterised by a forest of twin slanted columns and by a charred wooden floor, a kind of transposition of the “slash and burn” practice. The mezzanine floor helps articulating the space and it could be used for special sections or for temporary exhibition; at this level a big opening looks towards the river and the near Finnetunet. The wooden column and beam structure gives to the building a great flexibility for future changes and it allows to expand the structure in the future. Covered but open areas, and some large volumes of the first phase, could be easily filled and reorganised in the second phase. The large amount of squared meters requested for the new storage rooms in the second phase will be gained with the addition of a completely new “house” attached on the north side of the building.
The external trail to the entrance, such as the flooring of the hall, is made out of big uneven stone slabs. This finishing is a metaphorical representation of the Finn culture: made out of different and disjointed fragments but with a common origin; the path links ideally the community and its culture with its landscape, crossing literally the museum.
The main hall is meant to be a meeting point between the Forest Finn culture and the general population and foreign tourists. The space above the entrance is conceived as a gallery space for temporary installation artworks inspired to the Forest Finn culture: a sort of showcase that could be a bridge between tradition and contemporary culture.
/ Roof structure: snow disposal and water drain
On one side the roof system is a reinterpretation of the traditional Finn construction methods, on the other it is conceived to facilitate the snow disposal. The thick layer of snow it is borne by the roofing planks; the melted snow and ice are drained in the space between planks and the roof structure and then in open pipes, to avoid freezing problems. In addition the structure has a roof and gutter de-icing system. The rainwater could be collected and reused for toilet’s drain, or in case to water the fields.
The building insulation is achieved with wall coating applied to the interior surface: the coating is made out of high-efficiency multi-layer reflecting foils put in place with two gaps in between. The number of openings is reduced to minimize heat dispersion.
The floor heating system is powered by pump linked to a geothermal station that take advantage of the groundwater on site. The heating system is combined with a proper mechanical ventilation heat recovery. As an alternative the heating system could be powered by a biomass plant.
Taking the long winter and the lack of daylight into consideration, the project aims at energy overproducing by the means of a photovoltaic system on the southern roof of the exhibition volume and by a small hydroelectric plant located along the river on the northern edge of the site. This overproduction could be sold to the local energy company so that the museum gain a credit to use during winter.