Today we invite you to Europe’s high North. Imagine peaceful sea beaches and untamed landscapes. And a contemporary ramp, situated just at the verge of the ocean edge. The more exact location is Havøysund in Finnmark, Norway.
Norway is a land of fantastic nature and beauty. It is like no other country in time or place. Visitors and even natives are reacting to its natural world with great enthusiasm and so do the visitors from around the globe. In this sense, the Norwegian government holds the objective to cause more tourism and also boost the experience of the stunning Norwegian landscape. As an extension of this idea is Selvika, which consists one of the 18 National tourist routes in Norway, a concrete ramp that pursues from a road to the seashore along the salty Arctic Ocean.
The architects behind this ultimate addition to the Norwegian public roads administration are the Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter (RRA), an independent architectural firm based in Oslo. Their talent knows ‘Bold design that seeks to explore the tension between the local and the global, the natural and the artificial’ and thus, they contribute to great architecture pieces. Selvika, is one of these occurrences.
In their very own words the RRA Architects pronounce about the Selvika project: ‘The initial approach was to single out and magnify the experience of walking from the roadside down to the seaside at this very special place. Therefore a main concern was to slow down this movement and make the path itself a means of refocusing the experiential mode: a measured, restrained approach that creates awareness. ’
Instead of rushing with a car on the road by the coastline, Selvika invites the guests to stop to take a moment of pausing and top-gazing the stunning nature. As the architects themselves say: ‘The general notion was to create a human detail in the vastness of the landscape that is as timeless as the landscape itself and that brings attention to the relationship between the duration of experiences and the hugeness of the spatial circumstance.’
Having such a cool circular structure, this opens up to the access beach. Thick concrete material remains all the way solid, seriously looking at the infinite ocean. Selvika goes up of this landscape area of 10.000 m2 and perfectly blends with its surroundings. With a striking shape being reminiscent of a waterslide, Selvika, is yet a roundabout pathway that leads to viewing the tremendous north of Norway. Its architecture is respectfully dedicated to be entirely self-sustainable in terms of power input and waste output. Also, Selvika’s development encloses a series of various functions such as parking, bike shed, public toilets, benches, open kitchen and fireplace. While some may critic the whole project as if it spoils the natural environment, we believe it gives access for the elderly disabled to enjoy a stunning view as well as the opportunity of pass through the ramp makes it extremely interesting. All in all, this beachside walkway is such an innovative intervention in nature, which will also be transformed into a cultural landmark sooner or later.
To conclude, we praise the Norwegians for attempting something that would be dreamt in other countries and for constantly raising motivation to enjoy their natural heritage. In a manner of speaking, the architecture of Selvika has wittily completed nature’s poetry.
Words: Maria Passarivaki
Selvika // Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, // location: Havøysund, Finnmark Norway // program: Architectonic multipurpose landscape structure // client: Norwegian public roads administration // size: Landscape area 10.000 m2 // commission type: Direct Commission (2007) // status: Constructed year: 2012