Text description provided by the architects. Located on one of the most prominent routes along the iconic Atlantic coast, this small island has always been a hot spot for travelers; its breathtaking ocean views and proximity to the curving bridge makes it a destination for reflecting on the relationship between the natural and the manmade. In 2007 the national tourist road department held an architecture and landscape competition for upgrading the site with a viewing platform, a small service building, and larger parking capacity.
Our winning project integrates the platform, the car park, and the service building into a single infrastructural facility. The 700m walking path features 197 steel frames and 196 composite permeable grates, which protect the local flora by allowing wind, rain and light to filter through, providing for a non-slippery walking surface. It offers the road traveler a smooth pedestrian break around the island while enjoying panoramic views and sitting areas for resting and contemplation. The platform is engineered from a radial logic so as to adapt tightly but fluently to the topographical conditions; the path raises, sinks and turns by means of varying generative radiuses in both plan and elevation. The framework consists on an adjustable kit-of-parts made of stainless steel, and it is designed to avoid cutting and welding structural parts on site in order to mitigate the risks for corrosion. The service building contains a café, restrooms and tourist information, and it is concealed under the path behind a 150m long retaining wall, with its fenestration and décor featuring an abstract shoal of herring.
In its conception and engineering, Eldhusøya draws entirely from transport infrastructure and its adaptability to the natural landscape, borrowing materials and prefabrication techniques from maritime and offshore industries.
This project belongs to an ongoing effort of re-branding the Norwegian landscape as a unique travel destination. It actively contributes to the future of tourism in Scandinavia and its development towards softer, and more sustainable, forms of natural resources exploitation.