The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snohetta

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Pavilion sits on a spectacular site on the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park at around 1,250 meters above sea level, overlooking the mountain.

The main purpose of the 90 square meter building is to provide shelter for school groups and visitors as mountain guides lecture about the unique wildlife and history of the Dovre Mountain plateau.

Dovrefjell is home to wild reindeer herds, musk oxen, arctic foxes and a variety of endemic botanical species. A long history filled with travelers, hunting traditions, mining and military activities has left their mark on this land. Today, modern tourism and recreation continue to shape the cultural landscape of this place. Dovrefjell also holds significant importance in the consciousness of Norway. National legends, myths, poetry, music, and pilgrimages celebrate the mystic, eternal, and grounded qualities of this robust place. The founding fathers of the Norwegian constitution are “agreed and faithful, until the fall of Dovre!”

“Natural, cultural and mythical landscapes form the basis of the architectural idea. The building design is based on a contrast between a rigid outer shell and a soft organic-shaped inner core. A wooden interior is placed within a rectangular frame of raw steel and glass. The core is shaped like rock or ice is eroded by natural forces like wind and running water. Its shape creates a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving visitors’ access to spectacular views,” says the Snohetta design team, led by Kjetil T. Thorsen.

Considerable emphasis is put on the quality and durability of materials so that the building can withstand the harsh climate. The shelter’s simple form and use of natural building materials reference local building traditions. And at the same time, new technologies were utilized to bring modern efficiency to the fabrication process. The wood core was manufactured using a large-scale robot-controlled milling machine based on digital 3D models. Norwegian shipbuilders constructed the curved timber center from pine beams, which were milled using digital models and then pegged together.

Tverrfjellhytta is a robust building that refines local building traditions, provides a protected gathering place for the visitors and enriches the unique landscape of Dovrefjell.

Design Team leader: Knut Bjørgum landscape architect

Snøhetta Team: Kjetil T. Thorsen (Partner in charge, Principal architect), Erik Brett Jacobsen, Margit Tidemand Ruud, Rune Grasdal, Martin Brunner (Architects) Heidi Pettersvold.(Interior Architect)

Structural engineer: Dr.Techn. Kristoffer Apeland AS, Trond Gundersen

Floor area: 90m2/900sf

Cost: 4,0 mill. NOK (Total construction cost pavillion)

Main contractor: Prebygg AS

Subcontractor, steel: Lonbakken AS

Subcontractor, glass: Skandinaviska Glassystem AB

Contractor, wood: Djupevaag Ship Builders AS

Picture Courtesy: Snohetta