Projects / Laponia   More information

Between the towns of Jokkmokk, Porjus, and Gällivare in northern Sweden, in the heart of the barren, almost untouched Laponian natural area, lies a visitor center for the national parks that are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

It is a building that borrows – for a moment in time – a piece of land from a Sami village downstream from the great waterfall Stora Sjöfallet.

As in a goahti, the traditional Sami hut, the fire is the central meeting place. In the center of this circular wooden structure is an open-air courtyard, where visitors can either sit in small groups intimately united around an open fire or gather in larger troops in preparation for a hike in the surrounding nature reserve.

This courtyard serves different functions depending on the season. In the winter it fills to the roofline with snow, and during the first weeks of spring visitors can look out through the glass and follow the melting process. The snow also becomes part of the architecture, the building’s round form allowing it to be engulfed in snow drifts while the white powder fills the wide gaps in the outer wall to create a graphic pattern. The building itself rests on the site, lightly touching the ground, like a nomadic tent. Cut timber beams are stacked in a horizontal palisade.

The interior of the building comprises a sequence of spaces. The entrance opens onto a lobby that leads at one end to a café and at the other to a fireplace. There is also an observatory whose only window is overhead, where the spectacle of the night sky can be enjoyed.

Category Public
Location Vietasjåkk, Gällivare
Client Länsstyrelsen i Norrbottens län
Size 970 sq m
Year 2008 - 2014
Team Gert Wingårdh
Jonas Edblad
Filip Rem
Peter Öhman
Anders Olausson
Sara Helder
Helena Toresson
Björn Nilsson
Elin Wallinder

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