High Above The Sky The Aurland Lookout, Norway
Bergen-based architect Todd Saunders and Røyneberg-based Tommie Wilhelmsen have designed the Aurland Lookout. Completed in 2006, the award-winning contemporary structure can be found in the Aurland, a small town in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
According to the architects: “Nature first and architecture second was the guiding principal when we sat down to design this contemporary Norwegian building. It was immediately obvious to us that in such beautiful surroundings one must make the least possible encroachment in the existing landscape and terrain. The landscape is so fantastic that it is difficult to improve the place, but at the same time very easy to destroy the atmosphere by inserting too many elements into the site. Even though we have chosen an expressive form, the concept is a form of minimalism, in an attempt to conserve and complement the existing nature.”
The contemporary viewing structure has 30 viewpoints and was commissioned by the Norwegian Highways Department. The 4m lookout stretches out 30m wide over the pine trees and is only 9m high.
“To make the situation even more dramatic it was important for us to create the experience of leaving the mountainside. We wanted people to come out in the air. The construction creates a distinct horizon; a bridge in the open room of this large fjord. It is imperative that the landscape and the vegetation not altered, but are protected so that one came come out from the landscape and experience it from new standpoint.
“We have managed to behold all of the large pine trees on the site. This allows us to create an interaction between the contemporary Norwegian structure and nature. One can walk out into the air through the treetops, helping dramatise the experience of nature and the larger landscape room,” adds Saunders.