Located on Norway’s west coast, Trollstigen is perched within a dramatic pass between the deep fjords that characterize the region.

This panoramic site can only be visited and constructed in summer, due to severe winter weather. Despite, or perhaps because of, the inaccessible nature of the site, the project entails designing an entire visitor environment ranging from a mountain lodge with restaurant and gallery to flood barriers, water cascades, bridges, and paths to outdoor furniture and pavilions and platforms meant for viewing the scenery.

All of these elements are moulded into the landscape so that the visitor’s experience of place seems even more intimate. The architectural intervention is respectfully delicate, and was conceived as a thin thread that guides visitors from one stunning overlook to another.

The Trollstigen plateau is a robust facility, dimensioned for durability with minimal maintenance and large static stresses. The major contrast between the seasons has been handled with the choice of materials.

The area receives up to 7 meters of snow during winter, placing extreme demands on static strength. Structures and details are designed to withstand the extreme stress without compromising on the visual slenderness. Working with resistant materials felt natural.

Cast in place concrete and cor-ten steel are the main materials used in the project. The steel oxidizes and gain its own a patina over time. The concrete has been treated with several different techniques; polished, steel troweled, flushed, broomed, spot hammered, or cast in different types of formwork.

With the nuances the treatment gives the material, it is possible to address each micro-context in relation to the use and placement. All the materials are carefully chosen so the architecture is to be characterized by clear and precise transition between the architecture and the natural landscape.

The Trollstigen plateau is a very comprehensive architectural project, both in program, complexity and extension. It covers an area of approximately 600.000 m2 that from one end to the other takes about twenty minutes of continuous walking.

At the same time the complex is dimensioned to receive a lot of people in a short time. Around 600,000 people distributed in 100,000 vehicles visit the site during the summer months. This lay down large demands to infrastructure and logistics.

The architecture should underpin the site’s unique character, and give visitors an added value in relation to the travel experience, a key idea was to arrange so that all of the. All project elements support the experience of the nature and submit to the context and interact with, not compete with, the dramatic landscape. Because of the structural qualities of steel and the surface of cor-ten, this was a natural choice for this environment.

There are always some difficulties concerning the construction of an installation like this. Because of the extreme weather conditions and the difficulties of access for the construction equipment, most of the material had to be transported out with helicopter out to the outlookplateau. 

However, for us as architects it was always the structural challenges to attain a structure robust enough to look after the safety of the public, and at the same time appear simple and elegant.

The following issues are important for the sustainability of the project:
– Durability in all details / The architectural installations have been build so they can withstand the violent forces of nature. In summer, autumn and spring, there have been major floods causing extensive damage.

The amounts of snow in the winter months are so large that extraordinary static, solid solutions are required. Since the project consists of a number of individual measures, it is organized into a system of sub site development.

-Grey water / All grey water is filtered locally at the site through a series of sand reservoirs recycled directly into nature.

– Black water / This is extremely reduced using vacuum sanitary systems.

– Self sufficient energy consumption / Trollstigen will be self sufficient with energy with the use of a local mini hydro power plant, which is a part of the project.

Low energy consumption / The project is provided with low infra structure consumption energy installations in all parts.

Project name: National Tourist Route Trollstigen
Location: Romsdalen – Geiranger Fjord, Norway
Program: Mountain Lodge with restaurant and gallery • Flood Barrier House
Area: Site area: 600,000 m2 • Mountain lodge: 800 m2 • Flood barrier house: 900 m2
Year: Competition: 2004, 1st Prize • Time to build: 6 years • Flood Barrier House: 2010 • Mountain Lodge: 2011
Type of construction: Cor-ten steel and poured-in-place concrete
Client: Norwegian Public Roads Administration
Project by: Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter
Project team: Reiulf D Ramstad, Christian Skram Fuglset, Anja Strandskogen
Collaborator: Multiconsult 13.3 landscaping • Structural Engineer: Kristoffer Apeland AS

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