Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftop

Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftopImage courtesy of Rever & Drage Architects

Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftop
Southern Norwegian village of Kvås
Complete year 2017

 

Oslo-based firm Rever & Drage has completed a visitor center that occupies a clifftop location in the southern Norwegian village of Kvås. With a form that references the region’s vernacular architecture, the building is sandwiched between a main road and a waterfall, and is surrounded by dense oak woodland. Perched on the rugged terrain overlooking the Lynga river, the structure sits low in the landscape and is topped with a sloping, eave-less roof.

 

Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftopImage courtesy of Rever & Drage Architects

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In 2014 a salmon ladder was opened at the Kvåsfossen waterfall in Lyngdal, Norway. As part of the ladder, an underground artificial pool was included to allow the public to see the passing salmon. Due to the public interest and for practical reasons, a visitors’ centre was built to accomodate the public here.

 

Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftopImage courtesy of Rever & Drage Architects

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The plot just above the salmon ladder provides a spectacular location at the edge of a cliff with the Lynga river at the bottom. As such, the location itself and the visitors’ centre provide a striking contrast between being at the edge of the cliff, as opposed to down below in the underground salmon ladder. In addition the centre is surrounded by dense oak woodland, which adds to the distinctive character of the location.

 

Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftopImage courtesy of Rever & Drage Architects

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A part of the experience is to walk the path along the river up to the waterfall, cross an old bridge and pass through woodland back to the visitors’ centre. With the main road nearby, the building also needs to provide a screen, such that the landscape can be enjoyed without being disturbed by noise from traffic. This in addition to the fact that the building is visible from the road and provides a signal that here there is something of interest. This dual role is provided by the roof, which due to the buildings low position in relation to the road, acts as a facade towards the road.

 

Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftopImage courtesy of Rever & Drage Architects

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The roof is both large and low and has some typical and some unusual characteristics. The sloping roof atop the rectangular plan is in itself typical 70´s style (and thereby related to many of the houses in the nearby village), whilst the juxtaposition of the two roofs, together with the lack of eaves and the roofing material are not. The ventilation units on the roof have a double function as signs, and they also contribute to a subtle effect of being atypical, since they are too large and of the wrong type material to be chimneys or louvers.

 

Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftopImage courtesy of Rever & Drage Architects

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From the subdued aspect towards the parking lot, the building opens up internally and is much larger than the first impression from the entrance area. The apparent limited size viewed from the east gives the impression of a residential building, whilst the actual size is much closer to a public building. A third ambiguity lies in the choice of materials and colours. The external cladding is impregnated with traditional tarbased  stain. The smell of this gives the impression of 150 year old building traditions, but at the same time the colour gives a much more modern appearance.

 

Rever & Drage Architects perches Kvåsfossen Visitor Center on a clifftopImage courtesy of Rever & Drage Architects

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This building is both small and large. It is both modern and traditional and it represents both comfortable places for contemplation up on the cliff’s edge, and raw encounters with the dripping wet infrastructure of the fish ladder underneath it.

 

more. reverdrage.no

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