Tverrfjellhytta, Norwegian Wild Reindeer Pavilion

Snøhetta’s Tverrfjellhytta is a subtle and beautiful addition to the Norwegian landscape. Its presence is all things bold, handsome and respectful. Much like the Norwegian design ethos. Sitting unobtrusively nestled in the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park, in Hjerkinn, this minimalist glass and wooden structure mirrors, literally, the natural delights of its surroundings. The wooden interior architectural element acts as an almost womb-like centre—the carved out core—the beckoning of entry. At just over 900 square feet in size, the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre emphasises the materiality of its region and in turn expresses its beauty. Completed in 2011, the classic architectural lines that Snøhetta has created, together with the streamlined interior, result in Tverrfjellhytta being a timeless and wealthy addition to the sight-scape.

Its proximity and access to such incredible aspects—the Centre acts as a funnel to a series of vistas beyond. Dovrefjell, the backdrop of mountain ranges beyond, is featured, not overwhelmed, which is a nod to Snøhetta for their contextually sensitive response to the site.

The exterior is minimalism and simplicity at its best. Made from raw steel, purposefully, to mimic the iron found in neighbouring bedrock, and made from methods known in the region as traditional. The result is streamlined and conscientious architecture that enables visitors to reflect and respect the natural environment that abounds beyond the façade. The interior was imagined through 3-D architectural modelling. This then lead and guided the manufacturing process with milling machine sculpting out the forms from 10 inch square pine timber beams. The use of technology to guide this organic form-work is undeniably incredible.

Aligned with Scandinavian philosophy, Tverrfjellhytta is elusive and discreet. There is also a very overt boldness to Snøhetta’s work, particular in this case. The expression of the natural and the considered light-footed approach to architecture is razor-sharp precision, obvious, and intentional. The resulting form-work is beautiful—both internal and external. Open to the public, Tverrfjellhytta is a building that serves as an observation pavilion for the Wild Reindeer Foundation. As a sculpture on a landscape, and a portal for conservation, this piece of architecture pushes design, experience and technology, while still referencing a sense of nostalgia.

Photography by and Ketil Jacobsen

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