Five years after it opened, Viewpoint Snøhetta sees significant growth in its number of visitors.
The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, located at high altitude at Hjerkinn, overlooks the spectacular Dovrefjell mountains. The architecture firm that designed it took its name from the tallest of those peaks: Snøhetta (2 286 meters).
Opening in 2011, the building better known as Viewpoint Snøhetta, was received with keen interest in architecture circles worldwide. It has won numerous awards – not least being named best exhibition building at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona.
Now, five years later, Viewpoint Snøhetta is experiencing an explosive growth in visitors:
“Interest in the observation and information pavilion Viewpoint Snøhetta has taken off completely,” said the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre North general manager, Jo Skorem, to the newspaper Nationen.
He can point to a 25 percent increase in visits in two years. In 2015, they received a total of 26 000 people. If we get good weather through autumn, Skorem believes they’ll break that record this year.
Speaking to Visit Norway, Skorem points out that the building has become very important for local businesses and local tourism. Pictures of the stunning construction are an excellent means for promoting Norwegian destinations.
Snøhetta Viewpoint is an architectural viewing pavilion 1200m above sea level overlooking the Snøhetta Mountain in Norway. The building is based on a contrast between ideas, a rigid exterior constructed of steel and glass—pictured reflecting the Northern Lights—versus an organic wood interior made to mimic erosion from natural forces. Photo: @joaklokk
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International brands, too, have used Viewpoint Snøhetta in marketing campaigns, among them Volvo and Lexus.
“I must point out, though, that car brands have used film montages that have not had control of. We don’t exactly facilitate for driving up here,” chuckles Skorem.
He believes the main reason for the increase in visitors is the building's unique profile.
“It’s a small building in a vast landscape, offering a means to frame the experience of nature. An American who visited us this summer, told me he had the experience of being inside a postcard. It is a minimalistic construction, without distractions like text, images or objects,” he explains.
Many visitors are architecture enthusiasts – and they are resourceful and active on social media.
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The building is basically a box of steel, with a large glass surface facing the Snøhetta massif to the north, and an organic and wave-like installation of solid wood to the south.
The building is open from June until well into October. It’s reached through a 20-minute walk from the car park at Tverrfjellet.
Oslo is rapidly growing into an exciting, international metropolis, while in the countryside, prestigious projects seem to grow out of nature itself. There has never been a more exciting time for Norwegian architecture.
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