The extreme conditions that have shaped the Laponia naturum visitor centre are the same that once shaped the building traditions of Sápmi. Not that the two are similar – but they spring from the same foundations.
A snow trap
In Vietasjåkk, the climate is a mighty force. The snow comes early and leaves late. The arctic wind drives it into drifts that make the winter terrain completely different from the summer. The landscape is recreated anew each year, a work of nature. Even in summer, nature remembers the winter. And this building remembers the snowstorm – even on the days when the ground is carpeted in the pale purple flowers of the moss campion.
The snow’s ability to fill every pocket in the lee of the wind is exploited here to create a building with a memory. The exterior captures the snow, making it a part of the architecture.
The centre tells visitors of seasons other than the present. Precisely because the building stands so robust in its barren landscape, it is only enriched by the tracks left on it by the forces of nature. The shutters are opened in early spring to let the outside in; and with the opening of the shutters, the rough-hewn exterior shows off its colourful inside like a blooming arctic wildflower.
Stora Sjöfallet, Gällivare
67° 28' 59.99" N
18° 20' 59.99" E
National park, World Heritage
Norrbotten County Board
National park, extreme weather, snow, Sápmi