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Norwegian Mountaineering Centre; Åndalsnes; Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Snow-Covered Mountains: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre

If someone were to create the negative of a mountain peak and reduce it to scale, a volume would be created that was very close to the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre. This high, tapered structure is joined to a low one with a long shed roof. Together, they create an L-shape with sloping sides. The outer shell is clad with grey, brown and white shingles. Towards the peak of the tower, the white shingles increase in an analogy of the surrounding snow-covered summits.

Apart from the two glazed sides on the ground floor, the building does not have many openings. The few windows are solidly glazed, square rhombi which take their shape and pattern from the shingles. They vary only in their size. This creates a unified shell that leads all the focus onto the unusual shape of the structure.

Behind the ground-floor glazing, there is a café which seats about 70 people. This lies directly underneath the climbing hall, which actually extends the entire height of the tower. Therefore, instead of climbing up a cliff outside, visitors can climb up its negative here and experience one of many alpine sports irrespective of the weather. Along with the climbing hall and café, there are also exhibition spaces, a library, a bouldering area, dressing rooms and the administrative offices of the mountaineering centre are accommodated over a total of 900 m².

The ensemble serves as an interactive museum. It will bring tourists and residents alike closer to the fascination of the mountains. The interior plays a significant role here. Narrow, tapering stairways create the dynamic as visitors ascend, uneven bookcases call cliff faces to mind and the few windows allow directed views of the surrounding mountains that served as the origin of the design.

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DETAIL 1+2/2021
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