At the edge of the silent, vast and imposing Hardangervidda plateau we descend into Eidfjord, surrounded by tall mountains. Overwhelmed by the immense beauty of the Nordic landscape, we arrive without realising it at one of the most
important tourist attractions of the country: the Vøringsfossen. Halfway
between the plateau and sea level in the fjord is one of Europe’s highest waterfalls. Vøringsfossen lives up to its name: proud (vyrd) waterfall (fossen). Yet it is easy to miss. From the road,
only the much smaller waterfall on the other side is visible. To discover Vøringsfossen's beauty, you have to go to viewpoints at the Fossli hotel, situated a little further away at the top of
the fjord. There, a special trail with several viewpoints reveals the grandeur of the waterfall. Further away toward the east the plateau gleams, in the west the impressively deep valley
stretches towards the sea, beneath you the swirling ribbons of water.
The complexity and immensity make Vøringsfossen a tourist attraction, and it has been included in the famous Norwegian Scenic Routes programme. It is one of the three ‘icon projects.’ The
programme was started in the late 1990s to open up the country's 18 most beautiful natural landscapes to the public. The aim is to improve the experience of nature as well as the quality and
safety of these tourist routes. Architecture plays a key role. The Norwegian architects firm Hølmebakk won
the design competition for Vøringsfossen in 2009. Their design creates a new experience of the river and the waterfall. The concept consists of a number of viewpoints, bridges and footpaths
that will eventually form a continuous 900 metre walk from Fossatromma up to the Hotel at Fossli. Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk: ‘I think it was the stair bridge that appealed to the jury… it was an
important piece that made the walk around the ravine shorter, and certainly more dramatic’ (in A+U). The idea of a bridge over the waterfall was inspired by a well-known Norwegian fairy tale,
Three Billy Goats Gruff, in which the billy goats walk over a bridge above a waterfall where a troll lives.
Part one of the project has been completed and reveals the amount of love, dedication and subtlety that was poured into the construction of this
route. Due to the architecture and use of materials – concrete, gravel and sandblasted stainless steel – the route appears to float above the surface, at times making way for the rocky ground.
The colour palette has been adapted to match the environment and the grey, damp and often foggy weather. It is a complicated project on a difficult terrain with height differences, irregular
ground surfaces and damp conditions. Several models were created and measurements made using a terrestrial laser scanner, yet testing and adjusting on location remains necessary. As a result, the
architects can often be found on the terrain working with ropes, wooden laths and so on. One Hølmebakk’s rules was that the geometry of the viewing platforms should ‘snap’ on to the edge, so that
if you are standing by the railing, you look 150-200 metres straight down the cliff. Using elements made of sandblasted stainless steel allows adjustments to be made on the spot. The construction
is being carried out without blasting work or the removal of indigenous vegetation.
The project will be carried out in three phases. Phase 1 has been completed: the higher area near Hotel Fossli. Phase 2 is currently under construction. Part of this is the spectacular footbridge which will be installed next May. Phase 3 will start in 2021: the lower
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New Holland, the old island in Russia’s St
Petersburg, is one of the city's most important monuments. Tsar Peter the Great had this ‘city within the city’ built in 1719, for use by the navy. To transport materials for shipbuilding, he had
Dutch engineers dig a series of canals with a triangular island in between, which soon came to be known as New Holland due to its resemblance to Amsterdam.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the area became disused and fell into disrepair. West 8 restored the ‘landmark’ and gave it a new urban function: the island is now open to everyone who is looking for
some relaxation and entertainment in the middle of the crowded city.
On the north side of the island, the green promenade along Admiralty Canal has been renovated. New pavilions and benches to rest on have been
placed among the trees. In the middle of the island is the basin where barges once moored and unloaded their cargo of shipbuilding timber. This basin has been renovated and a new balustrade and
light fixtures have been installed. The inner basin now serves as a public space thanks to the system of pontoons, and turns into an urban beach during summer. Two bridges across the basin create
a safe through-route for visitors.
The metal foundry is built in de 19th century. Around the terrace a herb garden has been planted, which is used by the new restaurant located in
the foundry. With over thirty species, the garden is a heaven of colours, smells and flavours. The coming years will see further restoration of the buildings and the island will be enriched with
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