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Utstein Monastery was opened after restoration in 1965, but the walled quadrangle to the west of the building was still standing as a ruin. The background for this part of the building is not known, but it is reckoned that it could have been the Abbot's House. The house would have functioned as extra accommodation for the monastery, where guests, pilgrims etc. could be received at the house, and thus avoid disturbing the inner life of the monastery.
The Central Office of Historic Monuments has given permission for an extension to the ruin. The building has been constructed in the form of a mediaeval building and there are strict limits for the design of details and what materials may be used. The project is extremely specialised, and has no parallels in Norway. The firm of Architects Helge Schjelderup AS was responsible for the planning of the project.
The «new» building has several purposes for use, and largely follows the seasonal activities of the monastery:
- Meeting or Conference Facilities
- Reception of school classes and other groups
- Museum Gift Shop and Café
- Exhibition Space