LocationGranvin Municipality, Norway
Lead ArchitectsNils Johan Mannsåker
LandscapeØstengen & Bergo Landscape Architects
Text description provided by the architects. On the site of Skjervsfossen (Skjervet waterfall), Fortunen have designed a small building consisting of two restrooms and a small technical room, while the landscape design is made by Østengen & Bergo. The client, Nasjonale turistveger, challenged Fortunen and Østengen & Bergo to accentuate and enhance the experience of the natural landscape, whilst not competing with it. The overall aspiration was to create a unique and surprising experience. The main concept has been to make the wild nature accessible without hurting it.
The building itself is located within a larger open landscape and takes advantage of wide views towards the steep mountain walls, and the moving valley. Creating strong references to the site and its surroundings was an important feature of the project. The building appears as a small piece of the mountain, carved out of the rock and relocated to the other side of the riverbank. The shape makes it a non-house, being a sculpture of the solid rock.
Towards the river, the facade is made from stainless steel, subtly reflecting the river and the wood beyond. The other sides are prominently seen when arriving at the site, and appear to be formed of solid rock, local to the area. The building attempts to mirror the massive and closed forms of the surrounding mountains. Fortunen had a desire to create an interior distinct from its external setting. Contrasting the outside solid rock, the internal walls are covered with deep, warm coloured plywood, with two tall windows that frames the moving water, forest and the mountains that rises towards the sky.
Local, natural stone is the main material in the restroom building, service area and nature trails. The colour scheme is carefully adapted to the environment, with robust designed fences in rebar (reinforcement iron) and benches in concrete. Tufts of removed grass was stored during construction and put back in place afterwards. Both in design and execution phase, the rough landscape and rich vegetation by the waterfall has been treated as fragile. The architect and landscape architect’s intention has been to make gentle interventions that looks like they always been in this terrain – despite their modern form. Where Norwegian landscape contractors made the straight lines and precise walls of natural stone, Nepalese Sherpa’s shaped the natural stairs of stone in the terrain. The combination of contemporary form, ancient craft and local materials create a timeless dimension to the project.