Snøhetta Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center Pavilion By Snøhetta-©Klaas Van Ommeren-12

The rippled timber core of this reindeer observation pavilion by architects Snøhetta mirrors the curves of the surrounding Dovre Mountains in Norway. Named the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, the building is used as an education centre by charity the Wild Reindeer Foundation. A rectangular steel frame contains the pavilion and a glazed wall lines the observation area. Norwegian ship-builders constructed the curved timber centre from pine beams, which were milled using digital models and then pegged together. Visitors to the pavilion can sit on the wooden form, where they are warmed by a suspended furnace.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center Pavilion By Snøhetta-©Klaas Van Ommeren-11

Photography is by Ketil Jacobsen, apart from where otherwise stated.

Here’s a bit more text from Snøhetta:

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion is located at Hjerkinn on the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park, overlooking the Snøhetta mountain massif. The 90m2 building is open to the public and serves as an observation pavilion for the Wild Reindeer Foundation educational programmes. A 1,5km nature path brings visitors to this spectacular site, 1200 meters above sea level.


Dovrefjell is a mountain range that forms a barrier between the northern and southern parts of Norway. It is home to Europe’s last wild reindeer herds and is the natural habitat for many rare plants and animals. A long history filled with travellers, hunting traditions, mining, and military activities has left its mark on this land. In addition to the natural and cultural landscape, the Dovre mountains also holds significant importance in the Norwegian consciousness. National legends, myths, poetry (Ibsen) and music (Grieg) celebrate the mystic and eternal qualities of this powerful place. The founding fathers of the Norwegian constitution are ”agreed and faithful, until the fall of Dovre!”

Architectural idea

This unique natural, cultural and mythical landscape has formed the basis of the architectural idea. The building design is based on a rigid outer shell and an organic inner core. The south facing exterior wall and the interior create a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving the visitor’s view of the spectacular panorama.

Considerable emphasis is put on the quality and durability of the materials to withstand the harsh climate. The rectangular frame is made in raw steel resembling the iron found in the local bedrock. The simple form and use of natural materials reference local building traditions. However, advanced technologies have been utilized both in the design and the fabrication process. Using digital 3D-models to drive the milling machines, Norwegian shipbuilders in Hardangerfjord created the organic shape from 10 inch square pine timber beams. The wood was then assembled in a traditional way using only wood pegs as fasteners. The exterior wall has been treated with pine tar while the interior wood has been oiled.

The pavilion is a robust yet nuanced building that gives visitors an opportunity to reflect and contemplate this vast and rich landscape.

Project Data
Project name: Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center Pavilion
Location:  Hjerkinn, Norway
Program:  the public and serves as an observation pavilion
Project Area: 900 sqf
Completion Year: June 2011

Cost: 4,0 mill. NOK (Total construction cost pavillion)
Award: World Architecture Festival 2011 – Category Winner: DISPLAY
The people

Client / Owner / Developer: Jo Skorem, Norsk villreinsenter Nord

Architect: Snøhetta
Contractor wood: Lars Djupvaag, Djupvaag boat builders
Environmental Engineer: Knut Bjørgum, Snøhetta
Interior Designer: Heidi Pettersvold, Snøhetta
Main Contractor: Prebygg AS
Project Manager: Knut Bjørgum, Snøhetta
Structural Engineer: Trond Gundersen, Dr.Techn. Kristoffer Apeland AS
Sub contractor glass facade: Erik Stening, Skandinaviske glass system
Sub contractor steel: Bjørn Lonbakken, Lonbakken as
Photographs: © Klaas Van Ommeren, Ketil Jacobsen and

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