Building Bridges in Norway
This is a difficult issue. There are so many beautiful spots in the world that are inaccessible to those in wheelchairs or to the infirm. One could leave them inaccessible, or do the quick and dirty utilitarian job that has added so many unattractive ramps to buildings and sites of interest that we see in North America.
In Norway, the National Tourist Route gave young, talented architects a chance to build bridges and rest stops in previously inaccessible but beautiful parts of the Norwegian countryside. In the past six years over 140 architects — mostly start-up practices — have been invited to take part. The new structures now provide tourists in wheelchairs access to the fjords and the spectacular views of the mountain ranges.
Beatrice Galilee writes in Icon Eye:
"It's just a tiny little line," says Code Arkitekter's Marte Danbolt of the Oslo-based practice's walkway, which runs alongside a large mountain range on the coast of Senja, an island in the far north of Norway.
The 55m-long structure begins at a car park, also designed by Code Arkitekter, and makes its way over mossy rocks and streams to reach a small concrete barbecue area. Made of untreated larch, its meandering, jagged form is a response to the practice's own experience of walking down to the sea. "We started thinking about the way you move over the rocks when you are walking towards the water," says Danbolt. "We didn't want to cut into the natural inflections and so we slowly adapted to the way you move over them in the design."
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