Todd Saunders’s tower between Norway and Sweden


Free Time, urban park,



Todd Saunders’s tower between Norway and Sweden The town of Sarpsborg is located near ?stfold in Norway, at one of the key border crossings to Sweden. The department in charge of Norway’s motorways and the regional government wanted to make the most of tourism in the area, as a moment of passage and an opportunity for people to meet. Particularly well known in his homeland for his recent projects focusing on dialogue with the environment and use of local materials, architect Todd Saunders was asked to design places for people to get together and socialise in the new public park in the town of Sarpsborg. He was given complete creative freedom because the area has not been precisely defined with particular functions considered necessary or identified with the site, so the architect was allowed to choose the character, virtues and prerogatives of the landscape he was creating, revealing it to people in transit from one country to another.
According to Sauders’ reflections, the park was to be based on the idea of a contemplative break: people travelling from Norway to Sweden were to be able to perceive the changes in the land, to prevent the frequent phenomena of the destination cancelling out perception of the trip so that the landscape becomes an indistinct blur of images. The extreme vicinity of the motorway has a strong impact on how the natural setting of forests and coasts is experienced, and so it was essential to view the park as a rest area, which is what the project does.
Rest means shelter, especially from noise and confusion: Saunders designed a protective wall following the shape of the 2000 square metre lot, rising from the earth and following the shape of the land up to the base of the viewpoint tower, the park’s symbol and landmark, identifying it from far away. Marking a pedestrian path to the tower, the wall embraces the orchard and is characterised by 7 small emerging elements serving as resting points and sources of information on local history. These street furnishings are set up with panels telling the story of the Bronze Age stone carvings discovered in the woods nearby: an open-air exhibition designed as a path through the nature of the park.
The project’s harmony is created by the conjunction of the clean forms of the street furnishings, the geometric cuts of the spaces and the choice of materials, which are left rough and natural, such as the pavement, which is partly made of long strips of wood and partly of local stone, or the vertical walls made of Cor-Ten steel. The park’s layout is literally determined by use of natural materials identifying spaces for reception and contemplation.

by Mara Corradi

Design: Saunders Architecture
Partners: Todd Saunders, Mats Odin Rust?y, Ines Moco Pereira,
Mathias Kempton, Attila Beres, Joseph Kellner,
Michaela Huber, Greg Poliseo
Client: Statens Vegvesen, ?stfold fylkeskommune,
Sarpsborg kommune og Fredrikstad kommune
Location: Sarpsborg, ?stfold (Norway)
Structural design: Sweco Norge AS, Per Jo Treimo
Lighting design: Sweco Norge AS, Bj?rnar Isaksen
Landscape design: Kristin Berg (Staten Vegvesen)
Lot size: 2000 m2
Completion of work: 2010
Construction firm: Veidekke ASA
Cor-Ten steel walls
Pavement of wood and local stone

Tourism routes in Norway: Aurland

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