Interventions to Pause and Experience
Snøhetta tidal installation in the north of Norway entices visitors to pause and experience the passing of time.
Architecture can be used for purposes beyond building large spaces, sometimes with just a few interventions thoughtfully executed that makes for a memory of a lifetime. At Trælvikosen, 65 degrees north and on the road between Namsos and Mosjøen in Norway, Snøhetta has developed a distinctive installation and rest area for travellers. The site is part of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s Norwegian Scenic Routes-programme. Now open for visitors, the site offers the opportunity to walk into nature itself, on 55 steppingstones placed in the water in a horizontal line towards the greater ocean.
Taking the visitor across the sandy sea bottom in a precise line from the beach towards a small islet and the view towards famous mountain Torghatten, it becomes a fluid experience in line with the tidal level; fully visible at low tide and completely gone at high tide. It offers a range of impressions, from the small details in the shore to the grand views, and in addition, invites for a deeper understanding of time itself and the ever-changing nature. As the tide retracts and advances, new details and perspectives are revealed, minute by minute, inch by inch.Through determined efforts for almost 30 years, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has developed Norwegian Scenic Routes as an attraction with international appeal.
Road travellers are provided with service facilities as well as the experience of innovative architecture and thought-provoking art in spectacular scenery. The selected roads run through landscapes with unique natural qualities, along coasts and fjords, mountains and waterfalls, and are intended as alternatives to the main roads. In addition to aid value creation in the tourism industry, the initiative has made a wide range of lesser-known areas more available to the public – to explore, experience and enjoy. In 2022, Snøhetta’s design at Trælvikosen is one of eleven new architectural projects that are opened as part of the new Scenic Route project series.
Compared to other Norwegian scenic routes projects, Trælvikosen intentions are to offer something distinctive. Aimed at increasing our awareness and attention to detail, the installation invites visitors to be immersed in nature, experiencing it, rather than just passing by or watch from a distance. Intentionally designed to make visitors slow down and observe, learn, and sense what is going on, the Snøhetta installation might also ignite new reflections on nature itself and how we take care of it for the future.
Landscape architect Thea Hartmann Kvamme elaborates; “If we truly want to take better care of our nature, we also need more people to see and learn more about it. At Trælvikosen, we wanted to intentionally design the site to ensure visitors were enticed to stay longer than normal. To truly experience the details, the time and nature itself, and hence also understand it better, as it offers an opportunity to observe the ever-changing rhythms of our nature.
The sandy bottom of Trælvikosen contains beautiful natural elements, when we take the time to take them in. The small pyramids of the lugworm, traces of snails moving through the ground, flounders, round stones in unique formats and the river meandering in an ever-changing trajectory. These natural details are all exposed, but the picture changes throughout the day, and the same goes for the experience of the surroundings. It all happens quickly, but as the tide rises, inch by inch, time seems to stop. This is all exposed in low tide, before everything is covered with clear, blue water.