Bergen-based architects Fortunen AS worked with Østengen & Bergo to install a compact service building at the base of the beautiful Skjervet waterfall in Granvin, Norway, using locally-sourced materials. The nature of the project required a prudent building strategy, so the team designed the structure to blend into the natural landscape and appear as though it had been there for years.
The terrain around the waterfall site is steep and quite difficult to maneuver. However, the rugged landscape and lush vegetation around the site were carefully protected during the entire construction phase. A single trail made of natural stone was chosen as the central nerve of the project, and became the inspiration for the building’s design.
The compact structure, which consists of two restrooms and a small technical room, is clad in locally-sourced natural stone. The remaining building materials including rebar fencing and concrete benches were also chosen to blend into the environment. On the inside, panels of warm plywood cover the walls, with various narrow glazed cutouts that look out over the river, allowing for amazing views of the Storelvi River, forest, and mountains.
The monolithic building’s steep slanted roof, along with the natural stone facade, creates a jagged silhouette that, although contemporary in style, strategically blends into the solid rock surroundings, creating a subtle addition to the area, rather than a distraction. This achieved the design team’s original intention, which was to create a series of “gentle interventions that look like they have always been in this terrain – despite their modern form. The combination of contemporary form, ancient craft and local materials create a timeless dimension to the project.”
The Skjervet design earned the World Architecture News Small Spaces Award in 2016.