17-08-2010

Jensen & Skodvin: Landscape hotel in Norway

Jensen & Skodvin,

Norway,

Free Time, Hotel,

Wood, Glass,

Small residential units near Gudbrandsjuvet waterfall in Norway reveal how architecture can help us enjoy a particular landscape by minimising its impact on the land.



Jensen & Skodvin: Landscape hotel in Norway The new Landscape hotel in Åndalsnes, Norway is a complex of accommodations including seven small units from which people can enjoy the landscape around them, designed by Jensen & Skodvin architectural studios. The units are all built on the same side of the Valldøla River, but their design and floorplan, with its openings and visual cones, ensure that none of the units is directly visible from any of the others. In a certain sense, even though the hotel forms a small residential community, ensuring that guests feel secure, as they are not completely isolated, the project is a hymn to solitude and contemplation, meeting demand for a new alternative to mass tourism. Designed for short stays, to be spent fishing in the river or simply relaxing, the units each consist of one room measuring about 25 square metres, minimally furnished with no concessions to trends or luxury, but designed to “disappear” before the superior spectacle of nature, which comes in through big windows which run the full height of the walls and form an important part of the buildings.
Each unit is raised above ground by a set of small pillars (4 cm in diameter) which perforate the rock without having to redistribute the soil, as standard buildings with foundations do, to preserve the existing vegetation. The structure permits a free floorplan which is not conditioned by differences in the level of the ground. The walls are made of pine panels protected on the outside with an iron sulphate treatment which tones down their natural colour and stained on the inside. The wooden walls are interrupted by one or two large glass walls that allow the landscape to come inside. The walls are all different, the result of the arrangement of infill and windows to isolate guests from the view of the other units around them and immerse them completely in the experience of nature. The wooden walls eliminate the difference between inside and outside, and the mirror effect on the glass multiplies the images of nature to completely camouflage the buildings in the landscape.
The Valldøla River flows through a deep gulley in the rocks, the perpetual erosion of which has formed an evocative rock face culminating in Gudbrandsjuvet waterfall, famous all over Norway. In autumn a huge mass of water flows down from the glaciers, its sound echoing throughout the valley. Large numbers of tourists come to this place, and in 2003 Jensen & Skodvin were asked to design a project enhancing appreciation of the natural setting with a lookout, bridges, a service centre and the Åndalsnes panoramic hotel.

by Mara Corradi

Architecture and landscaping: Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor as (Jan Olav Jensen, Børre Skodvin con Torunn Golberg, Helge Lunder, Torstein Koch; Thomas Knigge)
Structural engineering: Finn Erik Nilsen
Client: Private client
Location: Gudbrandsjuvet, Norway
Surface area of each unit: 25 mq
Project start date: 2003
Completion of construction: 2008
Glass façades: Norske Metallfasader AS
Pine wall and floor coverings: Martinsons Tre AS
Photographs: Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor

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