Livsreise: Norwegian Heritage Center

Livsreise (lifs-rye-sa) translates to “Life’s Journey.” It is a generational journey, encompassing not only the physical journey Norwegian emigrants traveled, but also the continued journey as current generations  embrace their Norwegian Heritage.

TKWA was hired In 2011 by the Edwin E. and Janet L. Bryant Foundation, Inc. to design an interpretive center that allows visitors to explore Stoughton’s Norwegian identity. 

Located on a challenging and highly constrained city lot along downtown Stoughton’s main thoroughfare, the building design was brought close to the street edge and articulated with varying levels of scale that are both pedestrian-friendly and compatible with adjacent historic buildings.

LOCATION

Stoughton, WI

SCALE

10,000 sf

STATUS

Completed 2015

The center features a contemporary building design inspired by the geometry and bold colors of traditional Norwegian vernacular architecture. Douglas fir timber structural elements, along with other wood and stone details, provide character and interior detailing. Design of fixed interpretive displays was closely coordinated between TKWA and ZebraDog, the project’s interpretive design consultant.

The main exhibit hall contains visual and audio interpretations of the journey from Norway, narrated stories of individual immigrants, plus physical displays of cultural artifacts brought to America. A temporary exhibit space offers displays from other Norwegian heritage and arts organizations.

Additionally, Livsreise is home to a genealogy center open to the general public. A 68-seat auditorium provides a variety of high-definition video offerings related to Norwegian culture and geography.

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