Artistic Architecture in Norway and Newfoundland


Canadian-born, Norwegian-based architect Todd Saunders returned to Newfoundland to design a 29-room inn on tiny Fogo Island.

Therefore, in 2004, the Shorefast Foundation was established in order to revive the island and attract visitors who asides from their interest in various forms of art, are also looking to enjoy cultural and sustainable tourism. Later on, in combination with the idea behind creating a 29 room Fogo Inn as a meeting point for artists from all over the world, the Fogo Island Arts Corporation was established, so that the island’s local tradition would be preserved. The newly formed Corporation focused on taking the initial concept to the next level through providing visitors with not only a place to sleep but also a number of other amenities such as a library, spa & sauna, an art gallery, a small cinema and gourmet creations from one of Canada’s top chefs.

Fogo Island Studios are slowly becoming an urban myth. The imposing landscape of the North Atlantic heralds the setting for four exclusive studios, soon to be six, on the North coast of Newfoundland, Canada. With a population of 2,706, the economy of the island which was initially based on fishery rapidly changed along with the global economic background.

Tom Saunders and his border collie
Tom Saunders and his border collie

The largest of the studios in the collection, its’ exterior surfaces are comprised of pre-finished rough-sawn painted pine planks. The left zone of the studio features mechanical equipment, storage areas, water tank, compost toilet, shower, kitchenette, wood-burning stove and a ladder that leads to the elevated sleeping loft. Built on stilts in order to take advantage of the exceptional views, its abundant natural light makes this space an ideal workplace for artists and designers.

Fogo Island Inn
A five star inn for the Shorefast Foundation on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada. Using wood as the main material, Saunders designed the 29 room Fogo Inn as a means towards the island’s  economic and cultural survival, but also as a timeless piece of architecture, which would be ‘made just for Fogo’. The Inn includes a restaurant, directed by one of Canada’s best chefs, together with a lobby, a library, a small movie theatre and an independent art gallery on the ground floor; four floors of rooms above ground level; and a sauna and spa facility on the top of the building.

Credits: Todd Saunders with Ryan Jørgensen, Joseph Kellner and Attila Béres
Photographers: Iwan Baan, Alex Fradkin, Bent René Synnevåg

In Norway Tom Saunders has been responsible for artistic architecture all over Norway.

Aurland Lookout was designed by Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen.

The architects won first prize to in an invited competition in 2002. This project is part of a national program on tourist routes commissioned by the Norwegian Highway Department. The pictures actually say more than a thousand words.

Photographer: Bent René Synnevåg, Nils Vik
Credits: Todd Saunders with Attila Béres and Ken Beheim-Schwarzbach

This large multi-functional structure is located on the waterfront in Aurland, down in the valley from the Aurland Lookout on a site that overlooks the expanse of the Aurland Fjord which is a World Heritage Site. The brief was for a competence centre for the local environmental think tank, including business and conference space, publically accessible areas, as well as a financial centre.

Stokke Forest Stair designed for Sti for Øye (Visual Path) Sculpture Park
This sculptural installation was designed for the Sti For Øye Sculpture park in Stokke, set amongst the Vestfold oak forest to the West of Oslo, Norway. Working with landscape architect Rainer Stange in order to create the infrastructure for a woodland walk past a series of artists’ installations, Saunders proposed a series of steel and wooden walkways set at the highest point of the site, looking east towards a castle.

Credits: Todd Saunders with Attila Béres and Ken Beheim-Schwarzbach

Solberg Tower & Parks
Saunders was commissioned to design a park at the entrance of Norway coming from Sweden. This park is one of the first places travelers will stop when entering Norway. The park is surrounded by a long wall composed of cortain steel on the outside and wood on the inside surface. The wall encompasses a 2000m2 space, making it into a quiet park. The wall continues to the surround the park and then rises 30m in the air to form a tower. The tower is just a simple stair. On top one will be able to see the Oslo fjord.

Artistic Architecture in Norway and Newfoundland, credits: Todd Saunders with Attila Béres, Inês Moço Pereira, Mats Odin Rustøy, Greg Poliseo, Mathias Kempton.

Feature image (on top): Fogo architecture Bridge on Fogo Island (Studio Bent Rene Synnevåg)

Source: Saunders and Yatzer