As cities across the globe continue to grow, natural environments are put under stress; natural habitats are transformed into farmland or paved with streets. The result is a decline in biodiversity and an undermining of future generations’ possibilities to enjoy and utilize the realm of benefits that natural environments can offer; from ‘ecosystem services’ to aesthetic experiences. How can architecture instill respect for nature and contribute to preserving and strengthening its presence in the future?
Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre
Skandinaviska Glassystem AB
Djupevaag Ship Builders AS
In Hjerkinn, on the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park, Norway – at around 1,250 metres above sea level – a pavilion is overlooking the mountain. It serves as an observation pavilion for the Wild Reindeer Foundation educational programmes, and the site is home to wild reindeer herds, muskoxen, arctic foxes and a variety of endemic botanical species. To get there you must take a 1.5 km hiking trail, which tourists and researchers do to visit the spectacular site. Facilitating access to national parks, giving people the opportunity to enjoy the landscape and its wildlife without notable disturbance, is a way to empower the national parks and their importance to people. Natural, cultural and mythical landscapes form the basis of the architectural idea for the pavilion, where a rigid outer shell meets a soft, organic inner core. The core is shaped like rock or ice that has been eroded by natural forces, like wind and running water, and it creates a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving visitors’ access to spectacular views. The team has focused on the quality and durability of materials so that the building can withstand the harsh climate while being an integrated part of the landscape. Natural building materials make reference to local building traditions, while modern techniques have enabled the shape of the wooden core using a large-scale robot-controlled milling machine based on digital 3D models.