Liasanden Rest-Stop

Jensen & Skodvin: For this stop point we investigated if it would be possible to retain qualities of light and space that can be experienced in a forest, and if the forest floor vegetation could be kept. We recommended an old pine forest along the highway as the site for this project. The rest area consists of a new side “road” about three hundred meters long, varying in width from about three to twelve meters, weaving through the pine forest. A slight declivity in the forest is filled – like a riverbed – with gravel to the required datum. All blasting and digging is eliminated. All interventions are pure additions. Studies showed that, if the addition of gravel was done in a very careful way above the ground line, varying the gravel’s density from the bottom up, it would be technically possible to preserve the existing large pine trees. All trees are thriving nine years after completion. The gravel, a material with no inherent shape or module, was carefully raised to the level of stones and plants with backhoes and shovels.

The gravel surface did not need to be horizontal, but could rise and fall according to circumstances. The scheme was based on determining the appropriate level of the gravel, so that from the first day the entire complex becomes a ’garden’ complete with vegetation in the form of the existing plants and trees. This concept implied that cars had to turn around the trees. Very accurate computerized maps of the trees and topography helped us to identify possible routes for cars, to reassure that it could be done without cutting down trees. The trees in the “road” have been protected with an element capable of being adjusted to fit any tree on the plot. The “shoreline” of the gravel and the trees, create spaces of various sizes. Some are suited for car parking, some for resting. Working drawings for the project were actually done on site using about 400 hundred small wooden sticks placed in position by us. The stick positions were surveyed and added to the digital map so that an accurate plan drawing could be generated as a tool for calculating quantities. The contractor, however, used the sticks as the primary “drawing”, for obvious reasons. The site is an indispensable condition for establishing the geometry of this plan in order for the idea to emerge into a specific configuration or layout. Without a site, this concept has no configuration – it is only a method that needs to be applied.

Landscape architect: Jensen & Skodvin
Location: Sognefjell, Norway
Design: 1995
Construction: 1995 – 1997
Area: 1500m2
Cost: 0,4 Million Euro
Text&photos: J&S


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