Tourism routes in Norway: Trollstigen

Reiulf Ramstad,

© Reiulf Ramstad Architects,


Sport & Wellness, Free Time, Landscape,

Glass, Cement,


RRA’s recently completed plans for a lookout over the fjords of Trollstigen is a work in which both materials and composition are inspired entirely by landscape. Cor-ten steel changes colour with the action of time, camouflaging the construction and demonstrating that being sustainable does not just mean consuming less energy: it means reducing visual impact on the environment.

Tourism routes in Norway: Trollstigen Taking great care not to disturb the equilibrium of its enchanting landscape, the Norwegian Transport Department has recently implemented an important project for the promotion of tourism in the form of awareness and use of the country’s greatest resource, its natural landscape, famous the world over for its fjords. The bays created where the sea flows into ancient glacial and river valleys form bodies of water extending for several kilometres, where forests grow on the steep slopes of the mountains, snow-capped for much of the year. This is a landscape that deserves to be underlined by the story written by the lookouts: structures designed specifically for the purpose by the country’s architects.
The project, currently in the development phase, has already seen the planning of numerous lookout platforms, routes for exploration of places of particular beauty in the context of wide-ranging landscape projects including tourism stations, observation infrastructures, parking lots and places of entertainment. Each of the 18 towns on the itinerary, which guides visitors through discovery of Norway’s western coast, was assigned to a Norwegian architectural practice which studied its limitations and potential and came up with a project, each one independent of the others in terms of materials used, vocabulary employed and overall composition. Each lookout is a monument in its own right.
Reiulf Ramstad Architects (RRA) worked on Geiranger Fjord in Trollstigen, characterised by a particularly rigid climate and a series of impervious paths that required detailed design of all the accessible parts, from the refuge with its restaurant to the routes with parapets leading to numerous points of interest, where lookout structures were erected. The design of the paths fits simply into the bare rock, an ideal continuation of the narrow, impervious roads that climb up to the viewpoints. The neutral colour of the rough cement slabs constituting the flooring in the straight and flat segments and on the levels and stairs does not interfere with the area’s natural colours. The observation structure, also made of cement but covered with cor-ten steel, extends boldly out over the abyss, imitating the fjords, which it reproduces in geometric shapes on several levels. The protective barriers, alternately made of steel, cement and glass, present a ballet of partial and total views of the nature below, declaring the lookout’s importance for enjoying the landscape.
When seen from far away, the structure seems to disappear, as the ageing cor-ten blends into the rock.

by Mara Corradi

Design: Reiulf D Ramstad, Christian Skram Fuglset, Anja Strandskogen, Nok
Nimakorn, Ragnhild Snustad, Atle Leira (RRA Reiulf Ramstad Architects)
Client: The Norwegian Public Roads Administration
Location: Geiranger Fjord, Trollstigen (Norvegia)
Structural design: Kristoffer Apeland AS
Lot size: 600,000 m2
Competition: 2002
Project start date: 2004
Completion of work: 2011
Photographs: © Reiulf Ramstad Architects, RRA