The vast and rugged landscape framing this 75-square-metre rectangular structure is home to musk oxen, arctic foxes and wild reindeer herds. The mountain range’s culturally rich history – inhabitance dates back to the Stone Age and it’s the birthplace of some of the country’s oldest legends, myths and poems – has made it a point of interest for international travellers and local school groups.
Charged with creating an observation and information pavilion for visitors, Snøhetta devised a parcel featuring a rigid outer shell and a soft, organic interior. Sitting inside the raw steel and glass frame is a CNC-milled wood core that takes cues from the surrounding metamorphic rocks. The firm enlisted the help of Norwegian ship builders in Hardangerfjord to construct the swooping interior from 10-inch-square pine timber beams assembled using only wood pegs as fasteners. Visitors sit on risers carved out of the timber and are kept warm by a suspended (and unobstructive) fireplace.
Called Tverrfjellhytta, the pavilion further illustrates Snøhetta’s celebrated refined and thoughtful design approach. We see it in the Mies van der Rohe-winning Oslo Opera House that rises, fjord-like, from the harbour; and in the September 11 pavilion, which is the only building that sits on the memorial grounds, and features a facade that references the Twin Towers.