A series of five architectural interventions is being proposed in the valley of Espedalen in inland Norway, with the intention of enticing tourists to get out of their cars to explore and experience the local area. With funding provided by two local mountain hotels (Ruten Fjellstue and Dalseter Høyfjellshotell), the first to be completed is Elgtårn (Moose Tower) – a 12-m-high lakeside viewing platform with overnight lodgings for six visitors.

The tower provides accommodation in its most basic form, stripping back to the bare bones of hospitality with neither running water nor electricity. On three sides, beds are cantilevered from the structure, protected from the tree tops by panes of glass. The final elevation incorporates the dramatic series of ladders that guides the public to the viewing platform at the highest level.

What is the project about?
SAM HUGHES (RAM Arkitektur): The idea was to create a unique overnight experience for a small number of guests in a remote location, combined with a public viewing platform. The form of the building was generated through early sketches of how to efficiently place beds around a small space. We wanted each bed to have a panoramic views of the surrounding area.

How did the construction take shape?
SH: The remote location made access to the site difficult. By using modular elements, we reduced the amount of production work required on site, as well as the number of materials being transported. We explored different types of prefabricated panels throughout the design phase. During one of our early site visits with the client, we looked at some of the historical buildings in the valley and the idea crystallised – a real eureka moment – that a log-type construction made sense. Its long history and strong connection with the valley satisfied all the criteria for the modular system we were trying to develop. The overall aesthetic is a result of the structural principles we applied. The influence of local traditions firmly anchors the identity of the tower into its regional context, even though we interpreted the past in the form of a contemporary design.