Decoding Design

Reindeer pavilion wins World's Best Display Building 2011

Posting in Architecture

In Norway, traditional and advanced technologies create an innovative timber structure.

A reindeer observation pavilion in Norway won World’s Best Display Building from the 2011 World Architecture Festival Awards.

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion in the Dovre Mountains in Norway was designed by architects Snøhetta. The 90 square meter (968 square foot) structure with rippling timber facade creates a protected, warm space that frames the panoramic view of the mountains.

The architects concentrated on high quality, durable materials that can withstand the harsh climate. The warped wood facade is meant to echo eroding rock and ice forms. A raw steel frame resembling the locally found iron supports the pine timber skin.

Ten inch square timber beams, milled from digital models, make up the building's interior and exterior forms. The beams were assembled with pegs into the organic forms by Norwegian shipbuilders. Wall finishes are simple pine tar on the exterior and oil on the interior.

The Dovrefjell mountain range is home to the last wild reindeer herds in Europe as well as many rare plants and animals. The mountains are historically and symbolically significant in Norway's culture and guided the architectural expression. The Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion is a strong and subtle place for admiring and respecting the natural environment.

Images: Klaas van Ommeren for WAF, Wild Reindeer Foundation

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure