The 42km Rondane Tourist Road goes on the east side of the Rondane Mountains from Enden in the south to Folldal in the north. The centre is situated near the midpoint of this route, and the place also serves as a main starting point for mountain hikers. The placing together of the two user groups has been important for the layout. For the car tourist: How to be introduced to nature and the mountains during a few minutes stop. And for the hiker: How to leave or come back to civilisation after days in the wilderness. Strømbu is also an information centre for several activities in the district, and the place is basically run and operated by the local parish.

The main building has a section that creates quite different situations on the two sides. Towards the parking area, a planted slope with stairs and a ramp leads to a roof terrace. From the terrace there’s a view towards the mountains and the passing mountain river. Towards north is a quiet room for rest, with fireplace and view to the wooded river terrain. In-between the two situations is a complex organisation of the kiosk and information area, serving both the outdoor and the indoor. It was also a practical aspect of the section, since the slope gives place for å large septic tank for the toilets, not possible to position below the ground water level. The toilet facilities are placed in a separate building.

The whole area is defined by a looped access with two connections to the main road. The parking, the footpaths and the buildings are placed along this loop and are all elevated to spring flood level, about one meter above the natural terrain. This condition establishes a distinct division between the cultivated and the given nature. In the middle of the loop will be a large planted forest, giving the overall situation more intimacy and shelter (test plantation 2009). The plan is also to re-open a blocked river gully, passing close to the north glass façade of the building.

The very first ideas of the project were quite simple and maybe somewhat banal: to make the building as a first movement - a step or a small steep hill towards the distant mountains. I believe the geometry, the volumes and the passages in the building have a reference to a mountain terrain. Still with a strong wish to present itself as a building, the project has been an intriguing discussion about the two – nature and building, or rather, the experience of nature as opposed to the experience of a building.


National Tourist Routes in Norway by Helge Stikbakke

Architect: Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk


Christine Petersen
Rickard Riesenfeld

Vegetation consultant: Villvin landskap by B. Thorvik Helgen
Consulting engineers: Sweco, Alerud, IBR-elprosjekt
Photos: Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk
Rickard Riesenfeld
Jarle Wæhler
Simon Skreddernes



Strømbu Rest Area
Strømbu, Rondane. 2008







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