World-famous painter Edvard Munch willed all of his works still in his possession to the municipality of Oslo. The donation amounted to about 28 000 paintings, sketches, photographs and sculptures. It has long been clear that their current home, Oslo's Munch Museum, is insufficient both with respect to displaying and maintaining this collection.
In 2008, Oslo's city council decided to build a new museum for Munch's art and the Stenersen art collection in Bjørvika. An architectural competition for the new museum was announced, and in 2009 an international jury named as the winner Spanish architect Juan Herreros' proposal Lambda.
Lambda is pitched as a 12-story tall building that stands on a 3-story base. The base will contain different public services. The vertical structure will house exhibition areas, workshops, storage and offices. Lambda will be a counterpoint to nearby buildings, most notably to the horizontally oriented Opera House. It is designed with a glass-dominated exterior intended to make the surrounding fjord landscape part of the indoor spaces.
Lambda remains a controversial project. The building's tall and dominating shape has been widely criticised. Many people do not want the museum to be built in Bjørvika at all, but would rather like to see an upgraded or new version of the current Munch Museum at Tøyen. Lambda was even shelved for a while, before a political ploy put it back on the table in 2013.
The new museum is currently scheduled to open in 2020.