Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum, Sauda, Norway | Peter Zumthor
The Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum is an industrial archaeology museum – sited in the municipality of Sauda, southern Norway – designed by renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.
Part of the Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke, the museum spans the Allmannajuvet gorge in the site of an abandoned zinc mine, which was operated for eighteen years between 1881 and 1899, before the falling price of zinc led to its closure.
Opened to the public in 2016, the Allmannajuvet Mine Museum consists of meandering trails, stairs, the old mine itself with its external structures, a parking, and a group of small buildings, distributed along the visiting path, which accommodate a cafe, toilets, and a small permanent exhibition.
The small box-like pavilions designed by Zumthor are simple freestanding constructions made up of a laminated timber structure clad with plywood panels painted in black internally (to suggest the darkness of the old mine’s galleries) and covered with a black jute burlap with a water-proofing methacrylate coating externally.
Evoking the former past of the mine site, the pavilions’ roofs and doors are made in zinc, either in the form of corrugated sheets or solid panels.
Due to the remote location of the museum’s site, all pavilions were prefabricated in a factory about eight miles away, and then installed at Allmannajuvet.
The relatively modest appearance of Zumthor’s new buildings, which resemble watch towers, perfectly merges with the gorgeous landscape of dramatic granite cliffs and pine forests around and, at the same, time symbolizes the daily hard labor of the miners and workmen once working in the site.
The small permanent exhibition of the Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum presents the history of the mine and its people by the means of original working tools, photographs, and historical documents.
The museum is open daily in June and August; out of the season, it can be visited only by large groups and by advanced booking (contact the museum for details).
Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum, general views; photo © Jiri Havran (top) and © Silja Lena Løken
The cafe, exterior and interior views; photos © Per Berntsen
Site plan; plans and elevations of the pavilions; images courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor
Model, 1:100 scale; photo © Inexhibit
Photos © Per Berntsen (top) and © Arne Espeland
Exterior view of the permanent exhibition pavilion; photo © Per Berntsen
Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum, permanent exhibition, installation views; photos © Fredrik Fløgstad (top) and © Per Berntsen
Cover image: exterior view of the cafe pavilion looking west; photo © Silja Lena Løken