Winner of the Norwegian Concrete Award 2018, The Norwegian Architect Studio MORFEUS, has designed a rest area at Børra, a road separating the steep mountainside in the east from the open sea that breaks against the shore in the west. Bukkekjerka is a part of the Norwegian Scenic Route Andøya in Northern Norway. The project includes a toilet with Norway’s Best View.
At the Børhella promontory you see the rock formation of Bukkekjerka, which is an old Sami sacrificial site. The name, although it sounds like “buck church” in Norwegian, stems from the Sami word “bohki ” which means crevice and “giergie” which means rock.
Related: Spirit of Norway
Over the last 50-60 years, this has been the venue of an annual open-air church service that attracts people from all over the district. In pre-Christian time this was a sacred site, where Sami people made offerings, to which the sacrificial cave on the seaside bears witness.
Officially opened June 2018
Since June 2018, the Bukkekjerka rest area designed by architect studio MORFEUS has been offering around 260 m² where travellers can relax, picnic and enjoy views of northern Norway. In November, the architects won the prestigious Concrete Award 2018 (Betongtavlen) for the project.
Several trodden tracks lead to the top of Bukkekjerka. Here, the architects have placed a small bench where you can see far out over the open sea, the mountain peaks in the north and the midnight sun. “When we first came to the site we were struck by the beauty of the place, and by its diversity; a dramatic landscape where the fierce North Sea meets the shore and later steep mountains,” said architects Caroline Støvring and Cecilie Wille when they presented their project at the Award Ceremony last month.
Norwegian Tourist Roads
Norway’s unique landscape can be discovered by means of 18 selected routes leading throughout the country. During the great herring fisheries period, Børvågen was a lively fishing village, but a storm in 1879 reduced it to rubble. There are still remains of Iron Age buildings, burial mounds and old boat landings.
“We wanted to highlight these different places by introducing several and dispersed elements to the site. The facility, therefore, consists of different elements spread out in the landscape: Parking and service functions to the north, a bonfire by the shore, a free-standing seating bench on the mountain facing the midnight sun, picnic areas, paths, and a footbridge that shows the way out towards the lighthouses,” said the architects.
Related: National Tourist Routes in Norway
Toilet with Norway’s Best View
Architects Caroline Støvring and Cecilie Wille, the founders of Morfeus arkitekter, were inspired in part by traditional Norwegian outhouses. The north side of Bukkekjerka now offers places to park and relax; there is also a public toilet. The toilet has one-way mirror glass so that the visitor in private may enjoy the view over the open sea and the row of mountain peaks in the north, making it a facility with one of the best views in Norway. On the outside, the mirror glass windows reflect the magnificent landscape. Polished acid-proof steel completes the structure and also reflects the surroundings.
Furthest south is a rest area on the consecrated ground. This part of the facility is planned to be used for an annual open-air church service as well as weddings and other gatherings. All the elements on the grounds are made of folded exposed-concrete slabs with various surface treatments; they are inspired by the region’s cliffs. Function and landscape determine the shape of the slabs.
A formidable effort by all involved parties
“A formidable effort has been done by all involved parties. It’s exciting to see how the project is received, especially by the local community. Andøya is a unique and distinctive place. Our hope is that the facility will be used again and again, by visitors and of course by local residents,” said Støvring and Wille.
All images by Morfeus, when not otherwise noted.
Toilet with Norway’s Best View, written by Tor Kjolberg