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Trollspotting, part 3

NTR: Sognefjellet

Where Rondane is characterized by distant mountains and lichen covered plateaus, Sognefjellet rides along the edge of the mountains, through valley and fjord.  There is no distance between the you and the landscape.  It is right there, changing before your eyes – as clouds rush past, waterfalls tumble down from the glaciers of Jotunheimen National Park, and the last snows of winter melt.  The view from the road is of a powerful landscape of rock, water, and sky.

The Roads Administration designated five sites for architectural interventions.  The projects at Lisanden and Mefjellet by Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor, are the standouts of the group.

Liasanden (1997) is one of the earliest tourist routes projects commissioned during the original pilot program from 1994-1997.  The program – parking area, picnic seating, an information shelter, and WCs – are inserted into a stand of pines between Rt 55 and the Bovra River.  Rather than excavate, the edges of the parking areas are defined by stone walls that have been back filled with gravel, preserving large trees and using the existing topography to determine the form of the driving surface.  Driving from the highway onto the site and into the trees, one’s experience of the landscape is immediately changed, from the rapidly changing view of the windshield to the quiet of the forest.

Graduate student Jonathan French is in Norway to study the National Tourist Routes.  A project commissioned by the National Assembly, the National Tourist Routes are 18 designated stretches of scenic highway developed to promote tourism in rural communities.  The tourist routes utilize architecture, landscape architecture, and art to transform sites along each route into destinations in and of themselves, promoting excellent design and beautiful landscapes as a reasons to travel to Norway.  Viewed as a whole, the projects engage design, landscape, movement and cultural history in a manner that stitches together a contemporary expression of Norwegian national identity.

To keep up on Jonathan’s personal blog, visit : http://trollspotting.wordpress.com



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