Mountain Lodge on Sognefjorden by Haptic

A new mountain lodge on the largest Norwegian fjord – Sognefjorden was designed by the Haptic atelier from London. This project, inspired by traditional Norwegian farms, consists of five buildings surrounding a central yard. Each individual building fills a specific role and offers a different view of the fjord and surrounding mountainscape. The central space serves as a gathering place for everyday activities with a reception, a bar and an overview of the surrounding living quarters which include a clubhouse, a dining area, a kitchen, a library, and a meeting room. The lower level, partially embedded in the terrain, boasts a spa, a swimming pool, a gym, a cinema, a playroom, and utility spaces. The upper levels consist mostly of living spaces – apartments with two bedrooms. The buildings are lined with wood both outside and inside, have saddle roofs and rest upon a natural stone base.


Portable Fishing Hut by Gartnerfuglen

Gartnerfuhlen is a recetnly formed Norwegian architectonic group, which created a truly unusual project – a portable single person fishing hut, characteristic by walls of ice. The whole construction, resembling a traditional house with a saddle roof, is made of wood, enabling its mobility. A single person is able to carry the hut around and the construct it under one minute. The walls and the roof are empty during the transport, but once constructed, they are filled with snow, which gradually turns into ice.

During the summer, climbing plants and vines can be used to grow around the framework and literally merge the hut with the nature. It also has little stilts, which are buried into snow and raise the hut above the cold ground. The inner space, large enough for a single adult, offers shelter from the cold winds. Since the walls are transparent, in the candle-lit evening the whole hut reminds of a large lantern.


Vennesla Library and Culture House by Helen & Hard

Helen & Hard – that is the name of a Norwegian architectonic studio that has recently finished a multifunctional building in the town of Vennesla, Norway. This building encompasses – above all – a library, meeting rooms and administration spaces, which tie up to an existing community house and an educational center. The complex was designed in a way that allows inclusion of all public services.

In principle, they are three buildings connected into one, where a completely new building is the library. The main aim of the authors was to create an unrestrained hybrid structure which would be, at the same time, a wooden building fulfilling all the technical criteria and visually connecting all the parts. The library, which is the central space, consists of 27 ribs made out of prefabricated glued fibre-glass and wooden elements.

The ribs also form a roofing, and every one of them has an inward-facing bookshelf. Facades of this building differentiate according to their placement, meaning that, for example, the entrance part is soft with a logia built using the aforementioned ribs, while other sides are mostly covered with bond shackles that prohibit overheating of the interior. This public building was devised with energy consumption in mind.


Steilneset memorial by Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois

On the shores of a strait that separates the Vardoya island and Norway stands a construction, composed of a forest of wooden supports that marches on the rough rocky ground – the Steilneset. Authors of the design are the architect Peter Zumthor and the artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010). Steilneset stands as a memorial for a dark era of the 17th century, when the witchhunts afflicted almost whole Europe, including this small fishing community. The memorial lies near the centre of Vardø, Norway and marks the area which was believed to be a sabbat point of witches.

The form of the structure is inspired by the vast wooden racks once used to dry the daily catch of fish. The structure is 125 metres long and consists of wooden frames with sheets of canvas (light beige from the outside but dark from the inside) stretched over them. Visitors can get inside this long corridor through a ramp. Main source of light inside the pavillion are 91 small openings each representing a past victim of a witchhunt. The openings are integrated with a lightbulb and a silk fabric with an engraved accusation, confession and fate of those brought before the court. Nearby the pavillion rests a black glass cube with Louise Bourgeois’ piece of work “The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved”.


Mountain Hill Cabin by Fantastic Norway

Norwegian architects Fantastic Norway created a project of a mountain hill cabin, which will be situated on a secluded place in the mountain slopes. The cabin will be reachable only in winter and only by skis or snowboards. The architects have had experience with similar projects, but the current one seems to be most dynamic. Some of the regulations were set by local authorities such as the height of the building and the angle of the roofing in order to retain the traditional triangular outlook of the mountain cabins.

Authors’ interpretation of these regulations led to an attractive shape of the structure which creates functional snow slopes for its inhabitants. Interior is divided into two levels. The larger space on the ground floor revolves around the central part with bathroom, toilet and kitchen. Aside from the living quarters and dining area, the central points of activity on the ground floor are two smaller bedrooms and a third bedroom on the upper level. The cabin is due to be completed in the summer of 2012.


Norway’s Seljord Lookout Point

Finns Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson created the Oslo-based architectonic studio Rintala Eggertson Architects in 2007. Later in 2008 they were commissioned by the municipality of Seljord to create series of lookout points around its famous lake, which is said to be inhabited by a mythical sea-monster Selma. The lookouts are meant to provide tourists and locals alike with enrichment in the experience of the lake and offer them a different perspective and appeal.

The most dominant of the towers is the southeastern one, located closest to the lake. Aside from impressive views of the landscape, it offers exhibition area on the ground floor. The structure is entirely made of wood and provides visitors with exciting experience in the night as well thanks to its lighting.


Troll Wall Restaurant by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Reiulf Ramstad Architects won a 2009 competition for designing a restaurant and service centre in Trollveggen, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. The building, which was due to its location dubbed Trollwall, was completed in the summer of 2011. The area is sought after by extreme sports enthusiasts for its tallest vertical rock face in Europe. The restauration is designed to blend into the environment and at the same time retain its uniqueness and identity.

Its trademark is the jagged roof and its whole glass gable walls. Glass and the jagged shapes are complemented by wood, which is lining the rest of the facade. Interior of the main restaurant space, thanks to the use of glass, casts a pristine impression and communicates with the surrounding landscape.


Roadside Reststop kkarvikodden by Manthey Kula architects


Strolling along the walkways of the norwegian archipelago Lofoten you can encounter ‘Roadside Reststop Akkarvikodden’ – public toilets by Oslo based atelier Manthey Kula Architects. In synergy with various gazebos, interesting touristic areas and resting places this structure creates a hybrid conjuncture of nature and design. After being damaged during a forceful storm the previous toilet building was replaced with a 10mm thick cortene structure based on concrete foundations and reinforced with steel plating.

Top floor offers a compelling view of mountains through 12-20mm thick glass, while the door is made of 5mm thick stainless steel plate. Glass panels which cover the interior, are meant to protect the visitors (and their clothing) from rust. Internal infrastructure is made of metallic pipes, which eliminate the need of isolation since the building is open only during summer months.


Danish architects inaugurate visionary science centre

Inspiria Science Centre (Norway), being the most innovative scientific centers of Northern Europe aims to make knowledge its crucial asset, has the trifold form and unites environment, energy and health in the communication platform.

It houses 70 interactive exhibitions, workshops and state-of-the-art planetarium. As it is expected the number of visitors will exceed 100,000 people annually including school children, families and tourists.

The communication platform
The Inspiria Science Centre interweaves communication and architecture into a single platform to promote the idea of harmony between humans and environment through learning. The Inspiria Science Centre building is a passive house with circular atrium and all-glass wings as a focal centre.

Inspiria Science Centre in its trifold form renders the idea of cyclic recurrence of nature and the helix that expresses universal power cycle. Architects tried to make a fascinating building with distinctive identity that would integrate all the activities of the Centre into a single whole.


Inspiria Science Centre can be the example of an extraordinary fund raising because the total project cost was €28.5million, the government subvention constituted €5 million and the business community subvention was €7 million, while the dominant subvention was made by the public sector driven by the desire to make young people more interested in science. As it was reported the project raised much more money than any other construction project.

Project: Science Centre in Graalum, Norway
Architect: AART architects A/S
Address: Bjørnstadveien 16, 1712 Grålum
Year: 2007 – 2011
Area: 6,500m2
Cost: €28.5 million

Photographer: Adam Mørk

Summer House Vestfold by by Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS Architects

The Summer house is located on the coast of Vestfold in the southern part of Norway. The house replaces an older building at the site and that is why it was very difficult to get the planning permit for a project at such a lucrative place so close to the sea. The project had to be well adjusted to the terrain, both in terms of shape, scale, material and color. The house and terraces are partly built upon existing stone walls, the parts of the walls which are new are made of stones from the blasting at the site.

The low elongated volume is cut into several parts to allow shading. These cuts also bring down the scale of the building and make the building relate to the surrounding cliff formations. On the outer perimeter are mostly terraces and a pool. A glass fence protects against wind but does not distract the exceptional view. The house is clad with special wood durable towards the exposure to salt water.


Rolling hotel

Norwegian architectural studio Jagnefält Milton Architecture came up with a unique idea how to liven up the small town of Åndalsnes. The town serves as a gateway to the region’s magnificent fjords and is surrounded by splendid nature. The architects designed a hotel that rolls on the train tracks that connect the town to the outside. The hotel does not resemble a traditional train at all but looks more like a number of large boxes loaded with oversized freight. Fortunately the impression is not correct and inside of the boxes of various heights and widths are fully furnished minimalist rooms big enough to sleep in. This way the tourists can get to see the country and not lose a minute searching for accommodation. The proposal goes further into details to include a rolling public bath and concert hall that could travel along the rails. When winter sets in, the units collect near the town center and in summer they travel along the various existing train tracks. The design has an interesting retro feeling and reminds us of the times hundred years ago in USA when private cars traveled on the rails. Nevertheless this idea is practical in all ways and this hotel does not negatively affect the nature and is environment friendly.


Bergen Fire Station

This fire station built according to the design of the architects from Stein Halvorsen Sivilarkitekter is located in Bergen, Norway. The project considered three important factors: location, traffic and future urban development of the area. The architects made use of the conditions to their benefit and designed a building in the shape of a curve so that all negative impact could be at least minimized if not completely eliminated. Architects` effort for sustainable design became true thanks to different technological innovations. The building is solid with its shape and material also protecting it from the motorway. On the contrary, the façade facing the nature is almost entirely transparent.

The curved shape itself creates privacy with a view of the lake but also reflects the dynamism of the traffic. The complex consists of four parts: the base, the screen, the tower and the bridge while each of them is devoted to a concrete function. The individual parts can be distinguished not only according to their function but also according to the different material and structures used. The base is characteristic with its dramatic shape towards the south, it is built from concrete and there are garages for fireman cars and technical rooms. The screen opens towards the lake and consists of a plate, a wall and a roof. The tower is a vertical element which defines the fire station from distance while the bridge is the main entrance only two meters above the ground.


Lookout in Aurland

Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen, two architects residing in Norway, designed a 33 meters high lookout that reminds of a ski jump. The lookout project was part of the national program for reconstruction of touristic roads in the area of Aurland fiord. The perfection of the surrounding nature should not be disturbed by the new building. The lookout stands right above a small city of Sogn og Fjordane situated three hours away from the second biggest city of Norway, Bergen. The architects won the competition of the lookout project and in cooperation with a construction firm Node Engineers they finished the building at the end of 2005. The lookout opened up to the public in the summer of 2006. The project is interesting for its simplicity and elegance, as levitating above the beautiful scenery. The structure 4 meters large and 300m long rears up to 9 meters. The final design did not intervene the peaceful atmosphere of the place. All pines that surrounded the parcel were preserved and nowadays they create an interaction between the construction and the wild.