The Bands Project In Vestvågøy, Norway

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Jane Mullock
Jane Mullock
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Created by a team of students from the Scarcity and Creativity Studio of the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, The Bands is a modern sauna that was completed in 2015 within a former fishing village on the Lofoten islands in Norway. It was built at the end of a quay that includes an old cod liver oil production building, a fisherman’s cottage and a cod salting building, all of which are historically significant as they date back to the 1900s.

The sauna’s facilities are housed within a special folding system made out of three bands, hence the project’s name. The building is composed of four separate areas, and to its northern side, the bands appear to come out of the rocks while leading the way to a hot/cold tub and a resting area. Three bands move independently and create offsets that facilitate a flow of natural light within the sauna.

The entire project is made using natural materials, predominantly wood, and it blends beautifully with its landscape. Its open facade affords exquisite panoramas of the landscape thus strengthening the bond between the indoors and outdoors while contributing to a tranquil, almost therapeutic ambiance.

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From the architect:

In a former fishing village on the Lofoten islands in Norway, a sauna is built at the end of a quay aiming for a sensitive relation with the landscape and a direct contact with the water. A flexible system of three folding bands which move independently creates the sauna and several outdoor facilities.

The project site is located north of the polar circle in Kleivan, Vestvagoy Municipality, Lofoten. The quay contains three existing buildings: a fisherman’s cottage, a cod liver oil production building and a cod salting building that were part of a now abandoned fishing village. These buildings date back to the early 1900s and are considered historically important because they are the remains of a form of life prevalent in this region which has ceased to exist. For these reasons the quay and three buildings have been listed in the ‘Cultural Heritage Plan for Lofoten’ adopted by Nordland county in 2007. The project is located at the end of the quay aiming for a sensitive relation with the landscape and a direct contact with the water.

All the facilities are contained in a folding system of three bands. The program consists of four separated areas. In the north side, the bands emerge from the rocks and lead to a hot/cold tub and rest area. The sauna is created by the rising of the three bands that move independently, creating shifts and offsets that allow the light to come inside and generate the different spaces within it. The completely open front facade offers an exceptional view of landscape. Once the bands has wrapped the sauna, the lateral ones go down and advance close to the ground to generate the main terrace while the central band splits to result in a table and benches with integrated barbecue. In the lowest part of the quay the bands continue creating a fish-cleaning table and steps to connect the different heights. The project is designed and built by students of the Scarcity and Creativity Studio from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, under the supervision of Christian Hermansen, Solveig Sandness and Marcin Wojcik.

Architects: AHO Oslo School of Architecture
Location: Vestvågøya, Vestvågøy, Norway
Area: 90.0 sqm
Project Year: 2015
Photographs: Jonas Aarre Sommarset
Supervision: Christian Hermansen, Dr.Ing. Solveig Sandness, Arch. Marcin Wojcik
Designers/students: Mathilde Azriel, Ines Bendelac, Tommy Degerth, Eline Egeland, Bruguers Gallego-Guiu, Sigrid Bergitte Gilberg, Matteo Grometto, Thea Andrea Jetmundsen, Marianna Laurila, Matteo Lomaglio, Lodewijk Luken, Jon Mannsåker, Ida Helene Holm Mjelde, Une Tangen Rekstad, Michelle Schneider, Kristina Skarphol, Miguel Saludas, Irene De Santos, Jonas Aarre Sommarset, Anna Rosa Strassegger, Emiel Vercruysse, Maria Årthun
Scarcity and Creativity Studio: The Oslo School of Architecture and Design

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