Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

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Tverrfjellhytta, Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion has been designed by architecture studio Snøhetta, located in Hjerkinn on the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park, overlooking the Snøhetta mountain massif. The 968 square foot (90 square meters) building was completed in 2011 and is open to the public, serving as an observation pavilion for the Wild Reindeer Foundation educational programs. A 1.5 kilometers nature path brings visitors to this spectacular site, 1,200 meters above sea level.

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Dovrefjell is a mountain range that forms a barrier between the norther and southern parts of Norway. It is home to Europe’s last wild reindeer herds and is the natural habitat for many rare plants and animals. A long history filled with travelers, hunting traditions, mining, and military activities has left its mark on this land. In addition to the natural and cultural landscape, the Dovre mountains also holds significant importance in the Norwegian consciousness. National legends, myths, poetry (Ibsen) and music (Grieg) celebrate the mystic and eternal qualities of this powerful place. The founding fathers of the Norwegian constitution are ”agreed and faithful, until the fall of Dovre!”

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Architectural idea
This unique natural, cultural and mythical landscape has formed the basis of the architectural idea. 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.

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The interior’s shape creates a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving visitor’s access to spectacular views.

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Considerable emphasis is put on the quality and durability of the materials to withstand the harsh climate. The rectangular frame is made in raw steel resembling the iron found in the local bedrock. The simple form and use of natural materials reference local building traditions. However, advanced technologies have been utilized both in the design and the fabrication process. Using digital 3D-models to drive the milling machines, Norwegian shipbuilders in Hardangerfjord created the organic shape from 10 inch square pine timber beams. The wood was then assembled in a traditional way using only wood pegs as fasteners. The exterior wall has been treated with pine tar while the interior wood has been oiled. The pavilion is a robust yet nuanced building that gives visitors an opportunity to reflect and contemplate this vast and rich landscape.

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Photos: Ketil Jacobsen and diephotodesigner.de

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