Stunning Photographs of the Norwegian Landscape

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By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
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German photographer Ken Schluchtmann documents over 12,000 miles of Norway’s rugged landscape.

Norway’s 18 National Tourist Routes wind their way up majestic mountains, snake along the choppy coastline, and hug precarious ridges overlooking fjords. In National Routes of Norway, recently published by Hatje Cantz, photographer Ken Schluchtmann follows the roads, capturing images of the country at its most wild, its most docile, and its most picturesque. Structures and architectural follies dot the landscape, offering places for people to stop and savor their natural surroundings. Norway’s Public Roads Administration began developing the National Tourist Routes in 1994, and local and internationally renowned practitioners such as Snøhetta and Peter Zumthor have contributed structures along them. 

Along the Geiranger-Trollstigen road in western Norway, Oslo-based Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter designed a footpath that traverses rocky terrain before terminating at a scenic overlook. “For me, this is one of the most visionary contemporary architecture projects,” photographer Ken Schluchtmann says. “It doesn’t destroy the landscape, but is instead fitted perfectly into it.”

"These locations represent a perfect symbiosis of landscape and architecture," Schluchtmann says. "What they have in common is the fact that they invite people to linger for a while and give visitors the possibility of finding a restful place in this landscape where senses are generally overwhelmed by the extremes."

"I went on my first trip to Norway in 1996," Schluchtmann says. "The landscape and the light left such a strong impression on me that I decided to give up my law studies and to go to Berlin to become a photographer."

"Good architecture can add to the landscape," Schluchtmann says. "It underscores the special features of the particular location and can motivate people to pause for a moment."

"All of these sites have something special. Some of them are quite exposed locations, places that leave visitors speechless when they look into an abyss or find themselves at a fjord or a bay," Schluchtmann says.

"The project is a tribute to the majesty of nature and to the people of Norway," says Schluchtmann, "who not only settled on and cultivated this land, but also have the courage and the taste to add something to these special places that puts the crowning touch on the whole thing."