Munch Museum rises from the sea


Edvard Munch was an incredibly prolific artist. He willed 28,000 of his works – paintings, sculptures, and photographs – to the city of Oslo. It had long been clear that the old Munch Museum was too small to house the collection. A new one is now being built on water in Bjørvika bay in downtown Oslo.

There was a long and heated debate about where the new Munch museum should be built and what it should look like. In 2008 the city of Oslo announced an architectural competition, and the following year a proposal called Lambda, by the Spanish architect Juan Herreros, was declared the winner.

Initial controversy

As is often the case with contemporary architecture, Lambda’s bold design and size met with some resistance. It was considered strange shaped and too tall for its surroundings. After years of a political tug-ofwar, the construction work finally started in 2016.

The job site was not the easiest possible either: Lambda was designed to rise directly from the sea. That meant a massive piling project for the contractor Hallingdal Bergboring. Robit, having been in close cooperation with Hallingdal for years, was selected as the provider of drilling tools for the project.

Custom-made drill bits

Old seaports are often challenging for piling jobs. The bottom of Bjørvika was filled with silt, large boulders, wooden piles from old dock, et cetera. The bedrock underneath them, on the other hand, was very hard. For these reasons Robit and Hallingdal designed the optimal drill bits in cooperation.

Location in the city centre was another challenge. The famous Oslo Opera House sits right next to the job site; one had to make sure that its foundations remained unharmed while drilling up to 12 metres into the bedrock. This was achieved by using Robit’s DTH-RoX+ FC (Flow Control) pilot bits.

16 kilometres of piles

For the foundations of the Munch Museum, some 16 kilometres of piles were drilled, 311 piles altogether, the thickest being 711 mm in diameter. Some were drilled on solid ground; others from a drilling platform floating on the bay. In these circumstances, drilling work takes a lot of skill.

– When you’re on the platform, controlling a machine that’s thumping on the rock 50 metres below you, you need to keep your eyes, ears, and touch on full alert, says Hallingdal’s operations manager Sverre Bjella.

Despite the difficult conditions, no major surprises or problems were encountered. The piling project was finished on time in October 2016. In addition to Hallingdal, Robit’s Senior Specialist Kari Juntunen extends his thanks to other parties involved.

– Our agent Norsk Pumpeservice was responsible for the storing and technical service of the drilling equipment, and did a great job. There wasn’t a single gap in the supply of consumables on the job site, Kari says with content.

In October 2016, Princess Mette-Marit laid the ceremonial foundation stone for Lambda. The imposing, glass-faced 12-story building is set to open its doors to the public in 2020.


Drilling methods / services