Havøysund Tourist Route by
Reiulf Ramstad Architects


This snaking concrete structure by Norwegian studio Reiulf Ramstad Architects winds down from a road to the beach along the edge of the Arctic Ocean.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Benches wrap around the curved walls, while the floor slopes down gradually to allow easy access to the water for wheelchair users as well as those on foot.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Circular openings of different sizes pierce the concrete walls.

Havoysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Last year Reiulf Ramstad Architects completed a glass restaurant with jagged edges - see it here.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

The Havøysund Tourist Route is one of 18 national tourist routes in NorwaySee a couple of other stories about the routes here »

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Here's some explanation from Reiulf Ramstad Architects:

Havøysund Tourist Route Project

The objective is quite simply to single out and magnify the experience of walking from the roadside down to the seaside at this very special place.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Therefore a chief concern was to slow down this movement and make the path itself a means of refocusing the experiential mode: a measured, restrained approach that creates awareness.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

The primary functional concern was universal accessibility. Instead of opting for a dual solution with staircase and ramp, we came up with the notion of making the ramp the common entryway and develop it into the integral character of the project.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Because of the inclination of the site, and in order to create the reductive motion, the ramp had to be very long.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

The winding river of the path prolongs the approach and in so doing opens up new perspectives and experiences for the visitor.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Located in the extreme north of Norway, in a landscape almost lunar in its barren and inhospitable beauty, the facility should ideally be completely self-sustainable in terms of power input and waste output.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

The general notion was to create a human detail in the vastness of the landscape that is as timeless as the landscape itself and that brings attention to the relationship between the duration of experiences and the hugeness of the spatial circumstance.

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Location: Havøysund, Finnmark Norway

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Program: Development and Design National Touristroutes Havøysund

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Client: Norwegian public roads administration

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Architect: Reiulf Ramstad Architects: Reiulf Ramstad, Anja Strandskogen, Kanog Anong Nimakorn, (Kathrine Næss)

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Commision type: Direct Commission (2007),

Havøysund Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

  • HDT

    Seems an unnecessary blight on an otherwise untouched coastal environment, not sure what it’s meant to add.

    Looks to me like WWII gun turrets.

  • This design exercise in concrete just damaged a truly special place

  • SecondRate

    "The primary functional concern was universal accessibility" – I think this is very important…no?

    Also, have you not read bunker archeology by Paul Virilio…I say bring on the bunker…it takes me to a different place…one where I may make associations to things like bunkers or experience a place like no other in a way like no other…

  • alessio

    it seems like spain

  • H-J

    A truly special and untouched landscape…WITH A ROAD running along it? Beautiful project, making it possible to enjoy this environment, taking a rest instead of rushing through it in your Volvo. Well done.

    • William Allen

      Is it not possible to just stop, get out of the Volvo, and look without a walkway?

  • carl viggo
  • Mandeep

    Awful, a heavy handed approach to a delicate brief, I can only hope that with weathering and exposure to the elements that it starts to merge into the landscape over time.

  • Tc seagull

    For the artist, it is one project among many that he will soon forget, having spent the money he earned. For the rest of us, we have to deal wih the eyesore for years to come. I cannot imagine how ugly this will look in 50 years covered in mildew and weeds, overgrown and neglected. The artist should be proud? Doubtful.

    • mcmlxix

      Mildew & weeds… and lichen & salt air… will likely be the only saving grace to this wholly unnecessary assault on this landscape. If anything, they will naturalize it.

  • MrJ

    Love the idea, but why concrete…?!

    Surely we see quite enough of this brutal material already, without using it to deface a pleasant natural environment.

    Now if he'd used wood, it might be a different matter.

    • Chris

      Concrete's only as brutal as its form. And have you ever seen the remnants of the countless wooden structures on beach fronts? They can look just as brutal as any abandoned brutalist structure.

  • Grapes

    It has something as a design in a rhino file somewhere but sadly I think its a waste of time, effort and concrete (not the most sustainable material choice)

  • aerm

    This is a disaster in many ways, but specially because of the severe and long term damage that the concrete will inflict to that beautiful place (which was enough, was that serpentine necessary to begin with?) and environment over the years on many levels.

  • Marc Archambault

    It will go unused, as most people would rather scramble down the not-too-steep-slope rather than feel penned in by a chute like that. Only people who use wheelchairs will benefit, though they too will feel claustrophobia, along the tight, winding path. The high walls will diminish their experience and will make kids under a certain height wonder where the hell they are.
    Hubris of the highest order- a high compliment to this sort of designer I suppose.

  • Chris

    I think it has a certain beauty to it. Its hindrance is that the landscape it occupies is so vast that it was always going to look like a blotch ON the landscape, rather than part OF it.

  • Why not use the local rocks? Still, that place with the bench and the 3 tables seems quite inviting :)

  • zizi

    What a good idea to waste some public money to build a useless structure in the middle of nowhere with the only result of spoiling the landscape with meaningless blocks of concrete.

  • But very playful and interesting space anyway!

  • critic

    So one loses the view while walking down to the water? Could this be rape alley?

  • jnuarch

    I attended a talk by Reiulf Ramstad a few months ago where he showed this project along with several others. I would say this Havoysund Tourist Route is definitely the 'odd one out.' A comparable project of his would be the Trollstigen National Tourist Route (I think it was on Dezeen too?) and that was exquisite. I just don't know what happened here. It doesn't even make sense as a project where the architect got carried away with an eccentric form to the detriment of all other aspects. Really puzzling…

  • I like the project.

    It seems positivly childlike, artistic with a clear architectonic idea. And superfunctional at least for walking disabled.

    All the negative comments seem generated by a first comment about destroying the beatyfull scenic nature, which seem pretty stupid, having visited Norway.

    The scenic nature is so powerfull, that nothing manmade in this scale can overpower it.

  • chawa

    This will be a piss-hole with bad graffiti in the near future, thats for sure! Poor nature.

  • Tim

    What a waste in every respect. Waste of the landscape as the structure adds nothing, and a waste of resources. I would bulldoze it and at least it might make some useful hard core.

  • Pamela

    I'm sure a lot of thought and planning went into this project. I kept scrolling through the pictures hoping to find a point. From no angle is this attractive.

  • Adrian

    I actually love it – the concrete doesn't stand out too much in the coastal environment… It could have been bright pink?

  • jp1909

    Poor aesthetics aside this is unnecessary and environmentally damaging. All involved should be ashamed. Projects of this nature can be joyful but need to have a stringent environmental agenda as a core part of the brief. This would challenge the artists and architects to innovate responsibly and avoid this kind of contaminating whimsy.

  • guest

    It’s not accessible to a person using a wheelchair at all – whomever used this as a claim is uninformed or trying to use it as justification so no one complains since its for handicapped people. How does one stop? Where does one stop? How does one see over the wall? It’s ugly.

  • gigi

    So the idea was to hide the view as much as possible by forcing you into a corridor and a semi-enclosed picnic area?

  • Yes – I agree with the naysayers. This is a very depressing project.

    And to the person who uses Virilio’s observations on Nazi bunkers as a precedent. Yes – those structures are interesting, but partly because of their historic use, and formation. They were born in a time of catastrophic conflict – and Virilio was partly interested in them for this reason. “Stripped of their functions, removed from topical contexts, these works bespeak of an unknown meaning”.

    This walkway has, literally, a very pedestrian meaning. And its formation was arrived at through, I suspect, a bureaucratic process of tender and procurement.

  • Dave

    It’s not very big, and more subtle than the road – I quite like it.