Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum, Sauda, Norway | Peter Zumthor

Saudavegen, Sauda
Vestlandet, Norway
closed on: Open daily in June and August; out of the season only by advanced booking
Museum Type: History / City

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 at 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 car park, and a group of small buildings, distributed along the visiting path, which accommodates 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 past history of the mine site, the pavilions’ roofs and doors are made of 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 watchtowers, 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 on the site.

The small permanent exhibition of the Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum presents the history of the mine and its people by means of original working tools, photographs, and historical documents.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 Norway Peter Zumthor 19

Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum, general views; photo © Jiri Havran (top) and © Silja Lena Løken



The cafe, exterior, and interior views; photos © Per Berntsen

Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum Norway Peter Zumthor site plan

Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum Norway Peter Zumthor plans

Site plan; plans and elevations of the pavilions; images by Atelier Peter Zumthor


Model, 1:100 scale; photo © Inexhibit


Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum Norway Peter Zumthor 18

Photos © Per Berntsen (top) and © Arne Espeland

Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum Norway Peter Zumthor 09

Exterior view of the permanent exhibition pavilion; photo © Per Berntsen

Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum Norway Peter Zumthor 21


Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum Norway Peter Zumthor 01

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
All images courtesy of Norwegian Scenic Routes

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