Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk - Viewing apparatus, Luster 1997. A simple but powerful project that addresses some very pragmatic needs. Located at the Sognefjell overpass, the viewing platforms (3 total) are dotted along the highest elevated road in Norway, which is a heavily traveled tourist route in the warmer months. Due to the expansive vistas along the road, visitors spend much of their time outside of the car, either walking to a desired view-point, or standing outside their car to get a picture. Either situation presents a concern for the municipality, both ecologically with damage done to the terrain, and in regards to safety for those stopped along the busy roadway.
To address these issues, Hølmebakk’s solution was to insert architectural follies at key areas along the route. Each has a similar foundation plan, circular platform, and apparatus for viewing or displaying information to maintain a common language. The “conspicuous” appearance of the designs, an almost scientific layering of pivoting sheets of glass, aims to entice people to a central, contained area. The multi-layered glass panels create refracted, distorted, and reflected images of the mountain range, at times providing a glimpse of landscape outside the periphery of vision, other times obscuring what is right in front of you. This play of imagery immediately acknowledges the presence of the man-made object by providing an impossible collage of vistas, but does so through an abstracted appreciation of the area’s natural beauty (similarly).
"One of the beautiful aspects of being a tourist is the privilege of constantly changing roles, between the one of the participant, and the one of the onlooker. Many physical arrangements for travelers - not least in Norway - make these roles obscured."
Junya Ishigami - Kanagawa Institute of Technology Workshop, Kanagawa 2008. While seemingly random, the dozens of columns that populate the space were designed with great specificity so as to encourage certain clusters of activity. Various nodes settled organically within the space, creating distinguishable zones that simultaneously maintain an open and collaborative environment.
There are also two different types of columns in the space, despite their visual similarity. Roughly half are embedded into the concrete slab, and support the weight of the roof. The others are welded to the roof structure, and combat sheer and seismic forces. Photos (C) Jonathan Savoie.