Stairway sculpture in Norwegian forest adds a new dimension to scenic landscape
Set within the Øye Sculpture Park in Stokke, Norway, Saunders architecture’s Forest Stair is a simple yet elegant intervention into the landscape. The stairs allow the user to step up from the forest floor giving otherwise unobtainable views of the surrounding area. The project was devised with careful consideration for the location and the give unprecedented views due to its placement at the highest point of the park.
The materials have been thought about very carefully and help to elevate the experience further. The rusted Corten steel exterior cladding helps expose the stairs amongst the woodland setting of the Vestfold oak forest. Once using the stairs, soft and warm wooden cladding lines the interior as a means of mirroring the surround environment, submerging you back into the forest despite the changing perspective. Finally a glass balustrade protects the users at the summit of the stairs, removing the solidity a conventional barrier would offer and allowing an uninterrupted view of the Castle Rock, to people of all heights and ages.
The structure itself continues to play with the illusion of translucency with open risers, emphasising the journey of ascension with each step. The solid side walls seemingly rise from the ground, drawing people up towards the viewing platform. The use of a single slender column gives the architecture a lightweight feel and compliments the programme as this plays to the feeling of being light and high up.
Careful consideration was taken to build the stairs and the site was surveyed in extremely accurate detail by Saunders. This allowed them to fabricate the structure off site where it was then flown in by helicopter and installed without any surrounding trees being damaged or required to be cut down.
The meticulous attention to detail throughout the whole project sees a brilliant addition to the sculpture park that is well considered, exciting and engaging.