The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center

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The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center is not only designed by prolific Oslo architecture firm Snøhetta, but overlooks the Snøhetta mountain massif in Norway.

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center Pavilion is located at Hjerkinn on the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park, overlooking the mountain Snøhetta. The building is 90 m2 and is open to the public. It serves as an observation pavilion for the Wild Reindeer Foundation’s educational programs.  A 1.5 km hiking trail leads visitors to the spectacular site 1200 meters above sea level and tourists as well as researchers visit this spectacular site. Facilitating access to national parks, giving people the opportunity to enjoy the landscape and its wildlife without notable disturbance, is a way to empower the national parks and their importance to people.

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center
The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center Pavilion is located at Hjerkinn on the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park, overlooking the mountain Snøhetta.

The Dovrefjell mountain range forms a barrier between the northern and southern parts of Norway. It holds a unique place in Norwegian consciousness through a wide range of tales and myths (Ibsen) and music (Grieg) connected to the mountains, and has a long history of travelers, hunting and mining. Military activities has also left its mark on this land. The founding fathers of the Norwegian constitution said, ”agreed and faithful, until the fall of Dovre!”

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center
Reindeer males. Photo: Rolf Sørumgård/Gudbrandsdalsmuseene

This unique natural, cultural and mythical landscape has formed the basis of the architectural idea. With a steel and glass exterior, and wooden core designed to look like eroded rock or ice, it also looks pretty cool. The interior creates a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving the visitor’s view of the spectacular panorama.

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center
The interior creates a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving the visitor’s view of the spectacular panorama.

Considerable emphasis is put on the quality and durability of the materials to withstand the harsh climate. The pavilion is a robust yet nuanced building that gives visitors an opportunity to reflect and contemplate this vast and rich landscape.

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center, written by Tor Kjolberg

All images © Snøhetta if not otherwise stated

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