Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion
by Snøhetta


Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

The rippled timber core of this reindeer observation pavilion by architects Snøhetta mirrors the curves of the surrounding Dovre Mountains in Norway.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

Above: photograph is by diephotodesigner

Named the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, the building is used as an education centre by charity the Wild Reindeer Foundation.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

A rectangular steel frame contains the pavilion and a glazed wall lines the observation area.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

Norwegian ship-builders constructed the curved timber centre from pine beams, which were milled using digital models and then pegged together.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

Visitors to the pavilion can sit on the wooden form, where they are warmed by a suspended furnace.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

Earlier this year Snøhetta also revealed their proposals for an extension to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - see more stories about the firm here.

Photography is by Ketil Jacobsen, apart from where otherwise stated.

Here's a bit more text from Snøhetta:

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion

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

The 90m2 building is open to the public and serves as an observation pavilion for the Wild Reindeer Foundation educational programmes. A 1,5km nature path brings visitors to this spectacular site, 1200 meters above sea level.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta


Dovrefjell is a mountain range that forms a barrier between the northern and southern parts of Norway. It is home to Europe’s last wild reindeer herds and is the natural habitat for many rare plants and animals. A long history filled with travellers, hunting traditions, mining, and military activities has left its mark on this land. In addition to the natural and cultural landscape, the Dovre mountains also holds significant importance in the Norwegian consciousness. National legends, myths, poetry (Ibsen) and music (Grieg) celebrate the mystic and eternal qualities of this powerful place. The founding fathers of the Norwegian constitution are ”agreed and faithful, until the fall of Dovre!”

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

Architectural idea

This unique natural, cultural and mythical landscape has formed the basis of the architectural idea. The building design is based on a rigid outer shell and an organic inner core. The south facing exterior wall and the interior create 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 rectangular frame is made in raw steel resembling the iron found in the local bedrock. The simple form and use of natural materials reference local building traditions. However, advanced technologies have been utilized both in the design and the fabrication process. Using digital 3D-models to drive the milling machines, Norwegian shipbuilders in Hardangerfjord created the organic shape from 10 inch square pine timber beams. The wood was then assembled in a traditional way using only wood pegs as fasteners. The exterior wall has been treated with pine tar while the interior wood has been oiled.

The pavilion is a robust yet nuanced building that gives visitors an opportunity to reflect and contemplate this vast and rich landscape.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

Project name: Tverrfjellhytta
Adress: Hjerkinn, Dovre Municipality, Norway
Building compleeted: June 2011
Client: Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre

Architect: Snøhetta Oslo AS
Landscape Architect: Snøhetta Oslo AS
Interior Architect: Snøhetta Oslo AS

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta

Design Team leader: Knut Bjørgum landscape architect
Snøhetta Team: Kjetil T. Thorsen (Partner in charge, Principal architect), Erik Brett Jacobsen, Margit Tidemand Ruud, Rune Grasdal, Martin Brunner (Architects) Heidi Pettersvold.(Interior Architect)
Structural engineer: Dr.Techn. Kristoffer Apeland AS, Trond Gundersen
Floor area: 90m2/900sf
Cost: 4,0 mill. NOK (Total construction cost pavillion)
Main contractor: Prebygg AS
Subcontractor, steel: Lonbakken AS
Subcontractor, glass: Skandinaviska Glassystem AB
Contractor, wood: Djupevaag Ship Builders AS

  • H-J

    Simply beautiful.

  • scc

    Landscape in a box, nice composition of materials and form.. feels a bit spiritual.

  • dodo

    love the organic form, caught in a box. better than any

  • Juan

    This is a beautiful work by Snøhetta, brilliant use of material. I am very impressed with this project.

  • kms

    cool to see snohetta still doing small detailed stuff even though they've grown. This is some real "only in norway" architecture.

  • samo

    this is the best free form materialisation i ve ever seen

  • CBV

    tremendous woodwork, really impressive

  • Like a warm, organic cocoon protecting you from the hard, cold, desolate world around it. This is the stuff of fairy tales I tell ya!

  • It took my breath away! Amazing!

  • Just wow. Nice work.

  • gallantandjones

    Amazing! Love how they had the foresight to use the ship-builders expertise :)

  • can we see more on the functional terms? I want to understand more ^ ^

  • love the beautiful, organic, spiritual quality inside the box. Just wonder why the box couldn't have been organic in shape as well?

  • love this – I could sit there all day.

  • priscania

    this is really beautiful T______T, makes me cry
    the landscape, oh!

  • priscania

    this is really beautiful T______T, makes me cry

  • LLM

    This is really something , Very Beautiful

  • An amazing job ! A great result, but I cannot believe how much wooden beams they used for this little project: is there any pine tree left in Norway?
    Just kidding, a great job again.

  • b_c

    wood is beautiful, this is a beautiful context and by the nature of the material a beautiful project. Could the wood not have been aligned to the faces of the resultant form before milling to save material or investigate a less brutal and wasteful process?. Or could bending have been used instead… it would be interesting to see a more rigorous investigation into the formaking/assembly logic as the cnc cilling of timbers has been played out and is a bit of a lazy and default digital to fabrication process. One could say that the ersoion process of the landsape has been interpreted, but in that case the underlying structure of the surrounding landscape is the result of a whole series of geomorphic processes in itself… just hoping to get a bit more thought and reflection out of our supposed 'avant garde'. but a nice looking piece nonetheless

  • Kelvin

    think twice……….it looks great in shape but it isnt a green building…..
    the building requires tons of solid timer where these demands could simply raising up the speed of logging…..:(

    • eh?

      Have you ever been to Norway? Seen how much wood there is? It's a sustainable material in the context of Norway because it's renewable and it's local.

  • Andrew Spence

    This took my breath away. If I had to be in one place, this would be it.
    thank you to everyone who was involved in this project.

  • Some of the best stuff I've ever seen! So extremely simple, yet so powerful!

  • Serge

    Absolutely beautiful design, but one practical question pops into my mind: where are the support facilities (washroom, storage etc)? Is there a separate structure? Can’t imagine people travelling there for a lecture and not being able to use a loo.

  • JM