People + Places

Discovering Modern Design in the Norwegian Countryside

Stop here for a moment. Imagine yourself hiking alongside the muted tones of rare shrubs, plants, and the last remaining reindeer in the remote Norwegian high-desert mountains. All of society seems millions of miles away.

Quite unexpectedly, you stumble upon an ultra modern…warming hut. Is this a mirage? How could this be real? What is this magical place?

These is the exact scenario I found myself during a recent trip to Norway. We were making our way to the Tverrfjellhytta Norwegian Wild Reindeer Pavilion, overlooking the Snøhetta mountain range when we stumbled what I could only describe as  a modern cube in the middle of the mountains. It truly was something wonderful to behold. I made my way into the hut and find out more about how this amazing piece of modern architecture came to be.

The Snøhetta wild reindeer center was designed by the (rather appropriately named) Oslo based architectural design firm, Snøhetta. The firm placed great emphasis on using quality materials to create a structure that could withstand the harshness of the climate.

The Dovrefjell mountain range in which the structure sits forms a barrier between the northern and southern parts of Norway. It holds a unique place in Norwegian history and culture through poems, music, and myths regarding the area and its mystical qualities.

The design of the cube is reminiscent of those esoteric traits, and mimics the details of its surroundings in every way. The structure is highlighted by a rough, patinaed steel frame exterior, resembling the iron found in the local bedrock. The harsher lines of the structure are  softened by an organic rippled timber, which surrounds the entrance and interior of the cube. The wood wraps through the interior, providing theater-like seating to view the mountain across the valley. The inside of the structure feels cave-like, inviting you to sit, sprawl, or curl up against the natural curves of the wood for comfort and shelter.

A modern suspended fireplace is also on display, not only adding to the building’s form, but also its function. Passing visitors are invited to stoke the fire and warm up while enjoying the stunning panoramic views through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Some might say modern architecture such as this can be unnatural, jarring, and sometimes even disruptive to the landscape. In my opinion, the exact opposite is true. The entire design and build was meant to work with the environment, instead of against it.

Sitting low, the structure effortlessly blends into the mountain range it sits upon. The color and natural patina of the steel allows it to blend in with the rock and soil. The glass windows reflect the sky and mountain range. So, if you were to scan the horizon, the structure may very well go completely unnoticed. That is what makes contemporary architecture such as this so incredible. Every detail of the design was made to fit in the environment in one way or the other.

The author, taking it all in

This structure is intentional about using natural materials to blend its geometric lines in with a wild, natural setting. So, the next time you are met with a piece of contemporary architecture like this one, I urge you to step back and see how all the details come together within the context of the environment. It will undoubtedly give you added appreciation for modern architecture.

Loressa Martin

Loressa Martin

As Social Marketing Manager for YDesignGroup, Loressa combines her love for modern design with her enthusiasm for creating community. When she’s not being a digital overachiever, she is inspired by an array of creative pursuits. From photography and interior design to brush lettering and many DIY projects, Loressa is passionate about following her curiosities wherever they may lead and enjoying life’s little moments along the way.

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