Photo of Tyrvefjøra rest area at night


The force and materiality of nature

Tyrvefjøra is located by a small bay in Indre Ålvik and has a more private character compared to other places along the National Tourist Route. The space is widely used by the local population. We wanted to emphasize the intimate and almost secret qualities of this place by building the toilets as part of the landscape itself. The building installation houses two toilets. It is made of wood and concrete with a large roof that hovers over the toilet rooms and the existing landscape.

Floor plan of the Tyrvefjøra rest area.
Site plan of the Tyrvefjøra rest area.

The Hardangerfjord offers a unique landscape due to a fault that occurred along the fjord between two mountain sections. The resulting extensive geological formations found in the fjord testify to the great forces and deformations that have shaped the place over time. Not far from Ålvik one can find many of these geological windows. These are specific areas where another bedrock comes into view, revealed as the layers above erode away.

Photo of Tyrvefjøra rest area at night
Photo of Tyrvefjøra rest area

We want Tyrvefjøra to tell a story about the place’s unique and rich geological history. Through a new landscape made of different layers of wood, sand, and concrete, visitors can experience the forces and materiality of nature in a unique way.

The area has a rich local timber tradition. Along the north side of the Hardangerfjord and the site there is a scattering of spruce and pine trees. We are particularly interested in how tree roots find cracks and depressions in rock in order to anchor themselves and find nourishment. The project reveals the inherit qualities of untreated wood, ranging from macrostructures such as roots, trunks, and cavities, down to microstructures such as fiber directions and growth patterns. Here we explore the idea of working directly with the tree’s root connections, both down towards the soil and up into the tree crown.

These thoughts are united through a hybrid wood and concrete structure. It evokes wonder and curiosity whilst at the same time meets the necessary toilet functions. Tyrvefjøra aims to be an installation that visitors and the local population can walk around and under. As such, it is one that can be enjoyed even when the toilets are not in use.

Photo of Tyrvefjøra rest area

The 68 tree trunks that make up the installation have been sourced and processed at a local timber mill. Together with two local boat builders, the trunks were adapted and shaped into two small toilet rooms. The whole installation takes shape through a generating sequence that becomes the overarching concept for the entire design process. This includes the rest area, paths, and the toilet facility itself.

Photo of Tyrvefjøra rest area


Helen & Hard Reinhard Kropf, Siv Helene Stangeland, Paola Simone, Karen Jansen, Alma Hawker, Jonathan Kim
Construction contractor Brun Bygg AS
Execution of the timber part of the building Horda Tre AS

Karen Jansen

Team Leader Oslo / Senior Architect

Reach out to Karen to learn more about the project.

(+47) 458 50 818