Viewpoint Gaularfjellet is not your average rest stop. Now, the futuristic concrete flake in the middle of the mountains is winning awards.
The view along National Road no. 13 snaking up from the Vetlefjord towards the Gaularfjellet mountain is enough to make your eyes water. Being up here with the high mountain peaks and deep canyons feels like standing on top of the world, looking down - the perfect spot to stop the car and stretch your legs.
And so, naturally, someone's built a parking spot here.
However, the people behind National Tourist Routes were not content with pouring some asphalt on a flat spot by the road and calling it a day. Instead, they got in touch with the architects in Code: arkitektur AS to create a more memorable stop for those who travel this path.
The result, Viewpoint Gaularfjellet, has already had its share of attention from abroad. This Tuesday, it also won the architectural award Betongtavlen (The Concrete Tablet) for the way it utilizes concrete in an enviromentally, aesthetically and technically outstanding fashion.
Tourists who reach the top of Gaularfjellet will find a bright grey flake of concrete with corners hanging in mid-air that they can step out on to take in the panoramic view.
It's the kind of construction that somehow manages to look futuristic while blending perfectly in with an untouched landscape shaped through billions of years.
The jury writes:
"The view from the platform captures the whole of the grandiose scenery between the mountains. It is one of several places on Gaularfjellet where you can stop to experience a variety of views ranging from wild waterfalls to idyllic mountain dairy yards. The concrete flake is balancing in an elegant and precise way in the intersection between the steep climb and the mountain plateau behind it. It is reminiscent of a picnic blanket or a piece of folded paper with three wings, where each wing stretches freely from a point of balance in the horizontal middle section resting in harmony on a mountain knoll."
The concrete annex Knapphullet in Sandefjord was this year's other recipient of Betongtavlen.
The soul singer Marvin Gaye sang that there “ain’t no mountain high enough” – but then again he never came to Norway. With almost 300 mountain peaks above 2,000 metres he would probably have found himself a suitable challenge.
This video from Dovrefjell captures the dramatic nature surrounding Viewpoint Snøhetta and the building's unique design.