Shelter: Wild Reindeer Pavilion

In Norway, nature, animals and architecture are all equal parts awesome.
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Nov 11, 2013 | By Nicholas Pell

Norway has a lot more to offer than black metal. A lot more. In fact, Norway might boast some of the most spectacular sights of natural beauty in the entire world, especially if you're a man who likes winter, starkness and reindeer.

Want to get a really good view of all of the above? The next time you find yourself hiking through the land of the Vikings check out the Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, a 90 sq. m. building in Dovre at the end of a 1.5 km hiking trail. It offers a spectacular view of the Dovrefjell mountains, the natural boundary between the southern and northern parts of Norge.

As you walk up the end of the trail, you'll walk through some very basic, rough wooden gates that look like a Norwegian farmer made them in his spare time. That's a good thing, by the way.

When you see the Pavilion, however, you'll have little doubt that this is not a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. From the right angle this thing looks like the obelisk from 2001 landed in the middle of the Norwegian mountains.

This is exactly what a mountain pavilion should look like: rustic. More than that, it boasts the sleek, modern design that the Nordic countries (Denmark in particular, but also Norway) have become known for.

The core is constructed from curved pine timber that was milled using the latest in digital design technology, then pegged together by hand. A suspended furnace keeps visitors warm while they sit outside and watch reindeer do their thing.

Oh right. The reindeer. Well, this is run by the Wild Reindeer Foundation as an educational center for people who want to see and learn about Santa's hot rods in their natural environment. This is a species that was endangered 100 years ago, but was able to come back from the brink in part due to the efforts of the Wild Reindeer Foundation.

Hanging back, sitting down, sipping on some cider and watching these majestic creatures lope around—when in Norway in winter, it doesn't really get any better than that. 

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 via: Snohetta; 7, 8: ©Bente Haarstad.