Architectures in the Limit | Íñigo García Odiaga

Senja’s Tourist National Road, Norway

The landscape has turned into the last years in an extremely complex term, to the that different fields of study approach from different perspectives. To the sociology, the art or the geography adds them  the architecture, disciplines that look for in the landscape his context, his field of game. But also the economy or the tourism look for in the landscape a prime matter to explode.

Anybody argues the value that the landscape agglutinates, in some occasions like a characteristic element of an identity, in other occasions like a value naturalístico or maybe like an economic value if it treats  of a landscape modelado to the taste of the agricultural exploitation and whose main characteristic is this precisely. But the landscape can be also a bequeathed, an idea idílica of the nature that surrounds us, an expression of the natural strength and of his harmony.

Senja’s Tourist National Road, Norway

It can that it was precisely this illusion of perfection the one who ruin it and is that there where there is a landscape idílico appears before that any another worry the human need to possess it. Apropiarse Of the landscape by means of his contemplation seems to be an impulse irrefrenable that  antepone, no in few occasions, even to his protection, maintenance or care.

Without place to doubts in a saturated society already by the power mediático of the ecological, even the tourism, the leisure, and his economic activity associated are looking for new offers of profile echo. Explode the landscape is possible, gives  to the visitor the possibility to access and capture the nature while this disburses part of his savings in the tourist sector venue.

Walk in Romsdalen, Geiranger Fjord, Noruega | Reiulf Ramstad Architects

On the other hand in this seemingly immaculate process an instantaneous contradiction appears and is that to facilitate the access of the tourist to a wild nature, it is necessary to domesticate her first. To construct accesses, viewing-points put of observation, services and how not, parkings that they allow to the visitor to accede in his car up to the edge of the most inhospitable cataract.

The architecture has here the challenge of proposing solutions, of supporting the balance, of raising projects in which the construction is delicate, reversible, that is to say that could dismount without leaving track. An architecture definitively of profile light, in that the simplicity, the looseness and his own disappearance and lack of presence opposite to the spectacle of the natural frame becomes obligatory.

Norway has a territory with a natural exceptional landscape, to which him add a few meteorological extreme conditions during the winter, which does that only it is accessible during the summer months, reinforcing furthermore the idea of enjoying the nature during the vacations.

In the year 2005 there began the construction of the National Routes of Tourism, a project that tries to commercialize 18 routes in the north of the country, which they are being provided with points of interest, that is to say with small architectural actions, which complement the former roads with services, viewing-points or walks. (

Inside this plan that is waited finish in the year 2012 there have been realized already a great number of actions, all of them under the summons of an architectural previous contest, to look for the best possible solution to the concrete enclave.

Walk in Romsdalen, Geiranger Fjord, Noruega | Reiulf Ramstad Architects

One of the most representative projects of the realized ones inside this plan is the executed one for Jensen & Skodvin on the waterfall of a river in Gudbrandsjuvet. The platform of the principal viewing-point is constructed by sheets of steel of 25 mm cut by means of a laser, which were prefabricated in a workshop during the winters months to put them in the place when the time was allowing it.

The lightness of the metallic plane and his simplicity contrasts with the geometric violence of the rocks of the throat as well as with the uproar of the water course. The rail that protects the visitors this one formed by small constant bars from steel that by means of a small inclination towards the interior there guarantee the safety simultaneously that do not cut the sensation of being floating on the creek of mountain.

Another prominent project inside the plan of tourist routes is the realized one for  Code Arkitektur in the route that passes for Senja. Senja is an island in the north of Norway and the project is in the top of a peninsula between two fiords. The spectacular sight of the sea of the north faces the beaks and cliffs of the mount Okshornan.

The project begins in a small parking, together with the viario. The rails of wood that start from the parking delimit the whole intervention which use this one limited exclusively to the summer.

Gudbrandsjuvet | Jensen & Skodvin

From there a structure of 80m of length way is made towards an area of picnic, which one finds in the coastal rocks. The first structure is a ramp of concrete that following the slope of the area joins the road and the coastal rocks. From there, the structure continues in a serpenteante gangplank of wood, that zigzagging floats on the rocks.

The gangplank and his rails formalize an irregular geometry that is an echo of the form in which one agrees the structure on this type of area. The bridge ends in a small area of picnic realized with a concrete treated about gray color that reproduces the tone of the rocks and that looks like a cut of the original rock.

Gudbrandsjuvet | Jensen & Skodvin

Inside the same premises that present these projects one finds Mompás’s so called gangplank that is tried to construct on the cliffs of the mount Ulía in Donostia and that tries to finish off the walk of Sagües’s esplanade. Since in the previous cases the key will be in the care of the project that will begin to be constructed the year that comes, since to take possession of the landscape, in case it is necessary to do it, it cannot suppose in any case spoiling or finishing with his values.

Mompás’s gangplank, mount Ulía in Donostia

íñigo garcía odiaga. architect

san sebastián. november 2010

It´s published in MUGALARI 10.11.19

Íñigo García Odiaga

Doctor Arquitecto y profesor asociado de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, ETSASS. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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