If you are traveling by car along Norway’s coast every so often the journey is brought to a halt by lines of vehicles waiting for a ferry to cross one of the many fjords. The boat-trips are often short and the lines of cars are long. At Forvik on the National Tourist Route Helgelandskysten the ferry lands on the dock of an 18th century tavern. As modern boats get larger and the number of tourists grows the old dock can no longer support the terminal function, hence it is decided to build a new ferry terminal on the other side of a small bay, leaving the tavern without direct contact with the traveling crowds.
The brief for the new ferry terminal at Forvik was – in addition to design the landscape intervention and a small service building for the travelers with a kiosk, a waiting room and restrooms – to establish a connection between the old tavern and the new terminal, and to enhance the link between the tavern and the old church across the bay. Accordingly the theme for the small service building at Forvik became the bond between two places that are separated by a distance.
For the landscape part of the project the main focus was to minimize the traffic areal and to give the intervention in the vulnerable coastal terrain a distinct, but subordinate form. This is achieved by eliminating ditches and retaining walls, carefully planning the cutting of bedrock, the forming of new ground and the surface drainage.
For the service building we tried to achieve the following:
– a structure that embodied the idea of two places being connected across space.
– a transparent building through which one does not only see the old tavern, but every part of the built structure.
The central element of the project is the inverted vault that evokes the idea of a spoiler moving the gaze of the approaching tourist past the new building on towards the old settlement across the bay.
The small structure consists of two load bearing gable walls in concrete and an up side down vaulted roof of 10mm galvanized steel spanning between and cantilevering past these walls. Underneath the roof the insulated spaces are built with very thin wooden frames. This is possible because the vault stabilizes the structure. The walls and ceiling of theses spaces are made of glass. From inside the rooms, one sees through the ceiling up on the continuous steel vault. To create shade inside these glass rooms, the roof structure has an asymmetrical section with cantilevering awnings towards the south. The different parts of the building are separated by covered outdoor areas. The hardest part to work out in this project was to establish a cold, ventilated and completely transparent “attic” under the steel roof.
The somewhat technical appearance of the building was never an intention in itself, but a result of the desire to expose every part of the structure and to make use of the static potential in the inverted vault.