1.3.2012

Juvet Landscape Hotel, Norway

El Juvet Landscape Hotel se encuentra en Valldal, cerca de la ciudad de Åndalsnes, en el noroeste de Noruega. Los turistas son atraídos por una espectacular cascada, una profunda garganta próxima a la carretera. El proyecto surgió como una oportunidad para explotar el impresionante paisaje con una mínima intervención, instalando locaciones que de otro modo estarían prohibidas por razones de conservación. En lugar de construir un hotel convencional, con habitaciones apiladas en un gran edificio, el Juvet Landscape Hotel distribuye las habitaciones en todo el terreno como pequeñas casas individuales. Cada casa tiene una o dos paredes totalmente construidas en vidrio, por lo tanto se maximiza la experiencia del espacio en cada habitación. A través de una cuidada orientación cada habitación tiene una  vista exclusiva de este único paisaje, siempre cambiante con las estaciones, el clima y la hora del día.

The Juvet Landscape Hotel is located at Valldal, near the town of Åndalsnes in north-western Norway. Passing tourists are attracted by a spectacular waterfall in a deep gorge near the road, ”Gudbrandsjuvet”. The client, Knut Slinning, is a local resident. The idea emerged as an opportunity to exploit breathtaking scenery with minimal intervention, allowing locations which would otherwise be prohibited for reasons of conservation.

Instead of the conventional hotel, with guest rooms stacked together in one large building, the Landscape Hotel distributes the rooms throughout the terrain as small individual houses. Every house has one or two walls that are entirely built in glass, thus the experienced space in each room is maximized. Through careful orientation every room gets its own exclusive view of a beautiful and unique piece of the landscape, always changing with the season, the weather, and the time of day. No room looks out at another so the rooms are experienced as private even though curtains are not used.

At the moment there are 7 rooms completed, but with the possibility to add 21 more rooms according to the master plan. All the rooms have slightly differing designs, as a result of local topographical needs and vegetation, and to maximize the requirements for privacy and the best possible views. No rooms necessitate blasting of rock or changing the terrain, as the rooms are added to the existing topography.

The rooms are built in a massive wood construction with no exterior insulation, and are intended for summer use only. Each building rests on a set of 40mm massive steel rods drilled into the rock, existing topography and vegetation left almost untouched. The glass is set against slim frames of wood, locked with standard steel profiles, using stepped edges to extend the exterior layer of the main glass surfaces all the way to the corners.

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The interiors are treated with transparent oil with black pigments, so that reflections from the inner surface of the glass wall are minimized. Shelves, benches and a small table are all built by the same massive wooden elements to maintain a certain degree of monotony that goes well with the complex nature views and to keep the visual presence of the interior at a minimum.

Today’s concern for sustainability in architecture focuses almost excludingly on reduced energy consumption in production and operation. We think that conservation of topography is another aspect of sustainability which deserves attention. Standard building procedure requires the general destruction of the site to accommodate foundations and infrastructure before building can commence. Conserving the site is a way to respect the fact that nature precedes and succeeds man. Also, dutiful observation of existing topography produces a reading where the geometry of the intervention highlights the irregularities of the natural site, thus explaining both itself and its context with more power. A sustainable connection is established between structure and site.

The hotel has a planned opening this summer. A small spa is being built very close to the river, with two saunas and a massage room. It is inserted into the ground, but with glass walls towards the view towards the river and the mountains.

Structure:
The cabins are constructed from massive wood (85mm in the walls, 120mm in the roof and the floor), spruce, which shows on the inside (roof and walls). On the outside there is pine panel, treated with iron vitriol, which creates a chemical process on the surface of the wood that resembles ageing; the wood turns grey in a couple of months because of a reaction with the daylight.

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Inspiration for the design:
We wanted to create rooms that does not have the conventional borders (the walls), but which has an experienced space that is as large as the landscape, may be three to four miles wide in this case. To create this we worked a lot with the windows so that as much as possible of the «bordering»  or «enclosing» effect that a window and its framing usually gives were eliminated as small as possible. This is intended to give an effect of being in a large and grand landscape (not only looking at it), absolutely private, but also protected and warm.

Why the rooms are different:
We did not want to use dynamite, we wanted a project that could be removed without leaving scars in the landscape, and therefore we regarded the houses as guests on the site. Basically we discussed a lot what each single room should contain, all the rooms are slightly different because of the conditions on each plot, but with same basic services.

 

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