The fjord landscape of western Norway is not only characterized by precipitous mountain slopes, glaciers, deep valleys and fjords but also by fertile agricultural areas and picturesque villages. These attractions have made the National Tourist route Aurlandsfjellet from Aurland to Lærdal a popular detour with travelers and tourists. The route is open to traffic every year from June to September. Travelling to Vedahaugane leads one through the birch-forest belt to the edge of the high mountain. This spot has been used as a rest stop by shepherds and hunters for centuries. Also an ideal lookout point, it made sense to put the long and resilient oak bench there and thus move it away from the “modern” road.
The mountain-road lookout, a paved 110-meter path, leads away from the road and into the landscape. The double-curved shape of the path follows the contours of the terrain, effectively taking one from one valley to another, the latter as yet untouched and pristine, spectacularly dominated by high mountains and eternal snow. On a clear day, Jotunheimen Mountains loom in the distance. This view is matched not least by the rich small scale vegetation and the micro landscape surrounding the path, which likewise offers itself to a discerning traveler. The last third of the path hosts a wooden bench for one to rest while enjoying the magnificent panorama. The wheelchair friendly walkway “floats” a few centimeters above the ground, supported by round columns to minimize the impact on the landscape and reduce the actual footprint of the construction.
▼山上的浮动小径，the floating path
Placing a robust geometric form in such a natural setting is not risk-free. Utmost priority was given to constructing a path that most naturally followed the existing terrain. Based on a rigorous survey and a close examination of the terrain’s every detail, the curved path acquired its form from the contours of the landscape, thus allowing the landscape to remain untouched. Now the ‘floating’ concrete path continues into the mountain and leads the visitors into a concrete cave. This ‘den’ was added to the path to host an installation from the American artist Mark Dion, an artificial bear that lies on a pile of objects gathered from many places around the world. Once passed the big rocks at the entrance and reached the dark exhibition space we can see behind a glass wall a diorama that shows the sleeping bear illuminated only by natural light filtering from the only elements that pokes out of the terrain, a corten-steel cap that is also used to guarantee natural ventilation to the hypogeum space and avoid condensation.
▼小径引人进入洞穴，the path introduce visitors into a concrete cave
▼洞穴采光口，the opening at the top of curve
▼洞穴的采光口是自然地貌上唯一的凸起物， the only elements that pokes out of the terrain
▼黑暗的洞穴入口，the entrance of the curve
▼洞穴内的艺术装置，the artificial installation in the curve
▼洞穴剖面图，section of the curve
Location: Aurlandsfjellet, Norway
Architect: L J B AS.
Team: Lars J. Berge, Ziva Jelnikar, Giulio D. Marchesi
Structural engineer: NODE AS; R. Rykkje
Site manager; Asplan Viak; Ola Aaberge Client: Statens Vegvesen –Turistvegprosjektet;
Project manager: Bjørn Andresen
Curator: Svein Rønning
Christie AS; B. I. Homlong
Djupevåg Båtbyggeri AS
Design: 2005 – 2009
Construction: 2009 – 2010 (Vedahaugane), 2011 – 2012 (The Den)
Area: 110 m path, 300 m2 parking, 25 m2 ‘Den’
Eugenio Marchesi – www.marestudio.it
Lars J. Berge