In the media age many children spend hours with eyes locked on computer screens, television sets or interactive gaming devices instead of outside, exploring nearby parkscapes or enjoying precious time with their families. The winning concept in an invited competition for a series of gateways to Sjunkhatten National Park in Nordland, Norway, hosted by Sørfold, Bodø and Fauske Municipality, has been won by a collaborative design group which looks to engage families in outdoor activities, actively enriching children’s education through the construction of three information points in this breathtakingly beautiful environment.
Eriksen Skajaa Architects, Pushak Architects and Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landscape Architects have devised a series of three separate entrances to the 418 sq km park inspired by the myths and beliefs of the Sami - an arctic indigenous people who traditionally reside in Sapmi in northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. The gateways take references from ‘the myths of the Sami people and their understanding of nature, the construction system of their ‘lavvo’, and an interpretation of old sami signs’, underpinned by the concept of ‘saivu’ - a portal to another world.
The competition jury were swayed in their decision by this integration of local myths, considering this approach ‘suitable to enrich children’s experience of nature’. Arild Eriksen. Siv.Ark. MNAL, Partner at Eriksen Skajaa Architects explains: "We wanted to add a mythical layer to the experience of the nature in the Sjunkhatten national park. To let the children read the nature as signs and fairy-tale." These signs are horizontal information disks made from gold-coated stainless steel and can be distributed throughout the park independently from the permanent gateway structures.
Each gateway will be constructed using wood and canvas to form a continuous thread throughout the park, incorporating information boards, toilets, campfire sites, seating, and playgrounds. There is also the potential for sleeping areas so that hikers may camp at the three designated sites in sight of Nordland’s spectacular snow-capped peaks and fjords.