Technology, architecturally-speaking, has taken us to places we never dared imagine. Advancements in materials and processes offer us mind-altering visual experiences that keep raising the bar higher and higher until we’re pretty sure there’s nothing new to be shown us. Which is what makes a structure like this Dovrefjell National Park pavilion, in Hjerkinn, Norway, something of a wonder. When we see it, we’re quite sure we’ve never seen anything like it before.
Designed by the Oslo firm Snøhetta, the public pavilion serves as an observation enclosure in a vast and desolate part of the national forest, home to Europe’s last wild reindeer herds. “The building design is based on a rigid outer shell and an organic inner core. The south facing exterior wall and the interior create a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving the visitor’s view of the spectacular panorama.”
Spectacular, to be sure. Raw steel for the outer rectangular shell (resembling iron found in the local bedrock) was chosen to withstand the area’s harsh climate; and the inner undulating pine timber beams, fabricated by Norwegian shipbuilders, were assembled and fastend with wooden pegs, referencing traditional woodworking techniques.
“The pavilion is a robust yet nuanced building that gives visitors an opportunity to reflect and contemplate this vast and rich landscape.” To be sure—but we suspect the pavilion itself has become a subject of reflection for the visitors of Dovrefjell National Park.
Photos: Arch Daily