The program for the buildings includes gallery spaces, classrooms, auditoriums, a cinema, a restaurant, a café, a bookshop, libraries, studios, offices, woodshops, and archives, altogether covering approximately 300,000 square feet of space. In order to render the insertion of such a large institution in the delicate historic setting of the Skepsholm island, Moneo subjected the building mass to three motives: attenuation, fragmentation, and submersion. The result is a building that fits into its surroundings very naturally and with sensitivity.
Moneo from the outset placed a priority on the use of daylight in the exhibit spaces. The development of the passive lighting design involved the coordination of the interests of curators, conservators, security personnel, structural engineers, and lighting consultants. The systems were tested on paper and in models, with one year's light collection data being subject to analysis and evaluation. The lantern design that resulted from these studies is successful both as a means of controlling the daylight entering the exhibit rooms, and as an iconic image for the building as it is viewed from around the city.
The design of the Arkitektur Museet was equally involved as that of the Moderna Museet, though at a smaller scale. Inside, the library enjoys a double height ceiling with a mezzanine suspended from the roof structure.