Tverrfjellhytta / Snøhetta

  • 02 Nov 2011
  • Cultural Featured Landscape Selected Works

Architect: Snøhetta Oslo AS
Location: , Dovre Municipality, Norway
Project Team: Knut Bjørgum landscape architect (Design Team Leader), Kjetil T. Thorsen (Partner in charge, Principal architect), Erik Brett Jacobsen, Margit Tidemand Ruud, Rune Grasdal, Martin Brunner (Architects) Heidi Pettersvold.(Interior Architect)
Project Area: 900 sqf
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Ketil Jacobsen and

© Ketil Jacobsen

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion is located at Hjerkinn on the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park, overlooking the Snøhetta mountain massif. The 90m2 building is open to the public and serves as an observation pavilion for the Wild Reindeer Foundation educational programmes. A 1,5km nature path brings visitors to this spectacular site, 1200 meters above sea level.


Dovrefjell is a mountain range that forms a barrier between the norther and southern parts of Norway. It is home to Europe’s last wild reindeer herds and is the natural habitat for many rare plants and animals. A long history filled with travellers, hunting traditions, mining, and military activities has left its mark on this land. In addition to the natural and cultural landscape, the Dovre mountains also holds significant importance in the Norwegian consciousness. National legends, myths, poetry (Ibsen) and music (Grieg) celebrate the mystic and eternal qualities of this powerful place. The founding fathers of the Norwegian constitution are ”agreed and faithful, until the fall of Dovre!”


Architectural idea
This unique natural, cultural and mythical landscape has formed the basis of the architectural idea. The building design is based on a rigid outer shell and an organic inner core. The south facing exterior wall and the interior create a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving the visitor’s view of the spectacular panorama.

© Ketil Jacobsen

Considerable emphasis is put on the quality and durability of the materials to withstand the harsh climate. The rectangular frame is made in raw steel resembling the iron found in the local bedrock. The simple form and use of natural materials reference local building traditions. However, advanced technologies have been utilized both in the design and the fabrication process. Using digital 3D-models to drive the milling machines, Norwegian shipbuilders in Hardangerfjord created the organic shape from 10 inch square pine timber beams. The wood was then assembled in a traditional way using only wood pegs as fasteners. The exterior wall has been treated with pine tar while the interior wood has been oiled. The pavilion is a robust yet nuanced building that gives visitors an opportunity to reflect and contemplate this vast and rich landscape.

Text provided by Snøhetta Oslo AS.

Client: Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre
Interior and Landscape Architect: Snøhetta Oslo AS
Structural Engineer: Dr.Techn. Kristoffer Apeland AS, Trond Gundersen
Cost: 4,0 mill. NOK (Total construction cost pavilion)
Main contractor: Prebygg AS 
Subcontractor, steel: Lonbakken AS
Subcontractor, glass: Skandinaviska Glassystem AB 
Contractor, wood: Djupevaag Ship Builders AS

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Tverrfjellhytta / Snøhetta" 02 Nov 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • martin

    Extraordinary beautiful.. one of the few projects that show the potential of digital techniques in architecture.


  • Tati

    finally, Zaha is trapped

  • MikeBond

    Never seen wood crafted so organically before. It is almost liquid…Beautiful…
    Imo, most of Hadid’s works are just random shapes, misplaced and cold. Form for the sake of form.
    But this…this work radiates warmth even from pictures…authors took the use of wood in architecture to another level. And just look how it speaks with the landscape! It is totally there, harmoniously relating with the surrounding nature. Right place, right architecture.
    Stung project! Wish, one day I could create something as beautiful, as this peace of art.

    • Khatchatour

      Couldn’t agree more. Hadid and Gehry should look at this project very closely, for here is an example of non-Euclidian geometry that is poetic, that is organic to the artistic intent, that is a means to an end.
      Gehry’s and Hadid’s handiwork – architecture as a pursuit of the interesting and the unusual – is a dead end: in today’s world the novelty factor’s half life is ten seconds…

      • tomi

        couldn’t agree more

  • rob.i

    this little box… so powerful!

    • re_novate

      it’s not a box. it’s out of box!

  • Randy

    Poetry in wood!

  • marc

    This is the most beautiful piece of architecture I have ever seen!!!!! It’s majestic and so spiritual! Thank you Snohetta!

    • Barry

      Agreed. Wow!

  • stefan van der Ende

    As a sculptor I say , absolutely beautifull and a very strong statement in this amazing landscape . briljant .

  • luo wanmei


  • Paul

    Snohetta cannot fail, I have literally never seen a project by them I was not totally entranced by.

  • Nuno

    Sublime!! Congratulations!