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Project of the Week: Skjervet, Granvin, Norway, Fortunen AS and Østengen & Bergo Landscape Architects

14.07.2017
Project of the Week: Skjervet, Granvin, Norway, Fortunen AS and Østengen & Bergo Landscape Architects

Architecture can be grand. It can be ginormous - dominating all within its path, thanks to the building in question’s sheer size or presence. But it can also be small; cosy; modest.

 

A building’s dimensions, or, indeed, its purpose, do not dictate whether its design is worth examining. Skjervet, a small public service outpost nestled in some sumptuous Scandinavian scenery, puts this theory into practice.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Steinar Skarr

 

You see, it’s this project’s combination of precise aesthetic design paired with inventive landscaping that makes it worthy of your time and attention. Not least because of Skjervert’s remote location.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Vidar Herre

 

Skjervet sits in a Norwegian national park, just underneath the roaring waters of Skjevfossen (Skjevert waterfall). It was here, in an area defined by the river Storelvi and its meandering path down to Skjevfossen, that Nasonajle Turistveger, the group behind the development, chose to build.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Steinar Skarr

 

Altogether this modest structure, consisting of two toilets and a “technical room”, has been informed by its site in a number of ways.

 

Firstly, there’s the way Skjervet looks, which was handled by local architects Fortunen AS. It might be touch simple, but that simplicity reveals hidden depths. 

 

Skjervet

Skjervet

Images: © Fortunen

 

Skjervet’s silhouette, with the deeply sloping triangular roof, presents the outline of a mountain peak, jutting and rigid – fitting given the context of the building. It also has the hallmarks of a jagged flint spike, perhaps eroded naturally away from the valley’s edge and left to spike up into the Norwegian sky.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Vidar Herre

 

The natural stone used to clad and construct Skjervet forms a further connection with its surrounds. A variety of hues merge together, forming a kind of layers upon layers of rock that compose the craggy mountain landscape, and blending the building into its surrounds seamlessly. 

 

Skjervet

Image: © Vidar Herre

 

Internally, the natural link keeps on rolling with deeply warm plywood panelling adorning interior walls. Stone flooring matches external aesthetics too, making Skjervet appear as if it could have sprung up organically over time.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Fortunen

 

Floor-to-ceiling- windows also allow visitors to engage with nature while they are feeling its call themselves. That’s right, in the toilets, users are treated to some exquisite views of rushing rivers, sweeping vistas, and luscious greenery (depending on the season, of course) via these portals. 

 

Image: © Fortunen

 

While Fortunen’s work is easy-on-the-eye and context-sensitive, it’s context really was everything. That’s why fellow Norwegians Østengen & Bergo Landscape Architects were bought in to prepare a site worth building on.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Pål Hoff

 

For example, the main trail on which Skjervet stands vigil used to be a mess of ultra-steep, inaccessible paths. Now, with the help of a Nepalese Sherpa, Østengen & Bergo formulated a natural stone causeway, allowing access to Skjervet and the park at large. 

 

Skjervet

Image: © Pål Hoff

 

Despite its modern form, this stairway has been arranged superficially to look like a pre-existing feature; as if marked out and carved by the region’s historic inhabitants. It intertwines roughly up precipitous routes, letting grassways spill over flagstones, giving a rough, worn-in aesthetic belying its contemporary form.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Pål Hoff

 

A winding universal pathway carries pedestrians down to Skjevfossen’s thunderous plunge pool. Visitors can get up and close with the rushing waters – and Østengen & Bergo promise visitors will be humbled by the “extreme power of the water”, getting completely drenched.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Pål Hoff

 

Ultimately,  Fortunen and Østengen & Bergo’s client wanted a unique, surprising experience for park visitors to enjoy; one that accentuated and enhanced the surrounding organic wonders. From WorldBuild365’s perspective – they more than achieved this.

 

Skjervet

Image: © Pål Hoff

 

In 2016, Skjervet won the New Small Spaces Award at the World Architecture Festival. Now, it’s gone one better and been awarded the honour of being WorldBuild365’s latest Project of the Week.

 

 

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