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Pilar Viladas

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A Capsule of "Almost-Forgotten History": Surface Magazine Visits Peter Zumthor's Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum

Below is an excerpt of the cover story of this month’s Surface magazine: an in-depth look at Peter Zumthor’s recently completed Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum, featuring exclusive quotes from the architect himself.

The first thing you notice when you arrive at the new Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum outside Sauda, Norway, is that it looks nothing like a museum—or at least, what we think of as a museum. On a steep site framed by elegantly rugged walls of dry stone, three black, shed-like and zinc-roofed structures look far too small to house exhibits, much less hordes of visitors. But this isn’t a museum in the conventional sense. Consisting of a service building with restrooms, a café, and a gallery—all perched on tall timber supports—it’s more a memorial to those who toiled in the zinc mine that operated on the site from 1881 to 1899 in the spectacularly beautiful Allmannajuvet Ravine. The mine and its accompanying trail were long ago abandoned, the original buildings a distant memory.