The new Preikestolen Mountain Lodge with the view across Lake Refsvatnet.
With approximately 120 000 visitors each year, the rock formation Preikestolen is one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations. Stavanger Trekking Association had long toyed with the idea of a new building to serve the increasing numbers of tourists. There was already a lodge on the site, built in 1949, but it had become too small. Moreover, many tourists want something better than bunk beds and a shared bathroom in the corridor. The Trekking Association wanted to provide for the new needs with a new facility, but still wished to retain some of the unpretentiousness that is typical of Norwegian mountain lodges. In 2004, they announced a local architecture competition, which was won by Helen & Hard.
The design of the building volume reflects the sweep of the landscape and the formations of the terrain. The building has been placed around a crag. Heights and roof gradients have been adapted and tuned to match the sheer mountainsides to the north-east and the more gentle ridges to the west. The main structure consists of 15 double, prefabricated solid timber ribs placed 2.8 metres apart and cut through to form the large common rooms on the first floor. The ribs form the partitions between the guest rooms, and provide intimate seating booths along the façade of the restaurant.
In the bedroom area, floor decks have been hung between the wall ribs. The bathrooms have been constructed with three glass walls and one wooden wall. All walls carrying service installations are alike. All tradesmen were able to work with open installations on the solid timber wall, and the installations were subsequently clad with glass. The whole structure is detailed so that the thick wood walls are diffusive. The hygroscopic properties of the solid timber slabs avoids the need for vapour barriers, and windproofing and waterproofing are solved by means of waxed fibreboards. The saddle roofs have a double underlay with air circulation and ventilation openings at the top and along all ridges. In the flattest areas of the roof, an additional layer of metal sheeting has been inserted between the fibre board and ceiling boards. The building has been clad on the outside with heartwood pine and treated with iron vitriol. All materials are toxin- and emission free. Heating is water-borne via circuits under the slate floor, fed from a heat pump in the Refsvatnet lake.
Local building- and craft traditions formed the starting point for the design and selection of interior elements. Wood basketwork is used on cupboard fronts and partition walls in the restaurant. Straw wallpaper on the ceiling is part of a sound absorbent layer. Chairs and benches have been made by a former ski manufacturer, while furniture covers have been specially made by a local weaver.
Preikestolen Mountain Lodge is a Norwegian Wood project. Norwegian Wood was an important part of Stavanger European Culture Capital 2008, organised by NAL | Ecobox and Stavanger Municipality. The projects gave particularly high priority to ecology and sustainability, and were required to meet stringent criteria with regard to innovative use of wood, environmentally friendly use of materials, low energy consumption and universal design.