On a tourist trail near Allmannajuvet’s historical zinc mines in Norway service buildings appeared; they were designed by legendary Swiss architect, Peter Zumthor and they perfectly represent mine’s cold, gloomy environment.

73 years old architect was born on April 26th, 1943 in Basel, Norway. He studied industrial design and architecture at Pratt Institute in New York; has won many awards, including 2009 Pritzker Prize and 2013 RIBA Royal Gold Medal. Peter owns a small architectural firm, where many young architects come to study and work with famous artist. One of his latest works are service buildings on a tourist trails near the Allmannajuvet’s mines. This is not the first time when the architect had to work with Norway’s “National Tourist Routs”; few years ago Zumthor’s firm helped in creating Steilneset Memorial (in memory of falsely accused in witchcraft and burnt on the stake).

Mines were in operation between 1882 and 1898 and during this time was produced over 12000 tons of zinc ore. It employed 168 workers from the nearby villages. After price changes on zinc, it was necessary to close the mines, because they didn’t have income anymore.

Architect has designed three buildings, which are placed nearby the mines; these are café, service buildings and the museum dedicated to the history of mining. The café and museum are raised up over the craggy landscape on a grid of timber supports, while the service building, which contains toilets and parking facilities, is perched on the side of a stone wall. Each building has a different view over the landscape. All of these structures are made up of three main elements: a simple black box, an encasing support structure made from wood and a corrugated zinc roof canopy, which mimics the uneven relief of the site. Part of the buildings (e.g. simple black box) were made on a different place and only after that moved and installed on the construction site.

It should be noted that Swiss architect’s design was chosen by “Tourist Rout Initiative” in 2002; but carrying out of the project (which costs £9.5 million) didn’t begin until 2011 for different reasons. One of them is Zumthor’s legendary perfectionism, he doesn’t start the project until he has calculated everything thoroughly. Also the reason for the delay was the crumbling mountains, it was necessary to clean up the territory from huge boulders and reinforce it. It’s 2016 and the construction is almost completed and soon it will be available for tourists. This is another major step in order to attract them; it’s considered that after the opening their number will significantly increase.



Author: Meri Khamkhadze




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