Black Ensemble: Mine Shacks by Peter Zumthor
Embedded in the picturesque mountain landscape, the simple, black buildings stand along a footpath that leads to the old zinc mine. From 1881 to 1899, some 12,000 tonnes of zinc ore were mined by Norwegian workers. Today the mine can be visited as part of a guided tour. Stone wall fragments are all that remain of the miners’ former dwellings.
The new buildings were designed as part of the Norwegian Scenic Routes to provide the necessary tourist infrastructure. The rest area begins with a roadside car park and a lavatory block. From here, a narrow path leads up to modest-sized café, and then on to a small museum with mining relics on display. At the end of the path is the entrance to the disused mine.
With their simple construction and dark colour, the buildings blend well into the wooded mountain landscape, adapting to the rugged terrain on their stilt supports. The creosoted timber frame extends up the outer walls to the slightly pitched roof canopy. Inside, the rooms inside are like black boxes that have been inserted into the timber structure. The atmosphere created by the pitch-black walls are yet another constant reference to the mines that visitors encounter at the site.