The telemark canal - soria moria

The Telemark Canal is an important, historic attraction in the region. However, visiting numbers have declined in recent years due to rising competition with other destinations. Tourists, as well as locals need reminding of what the canal and its breath-taking surrounding landscape have to offer.  The Telemark Canal Regional Park wishes to facilitate this “re-discovery” through the use of architecture, art and lighting design in a large-scale tourism and attraction project called “The tales of a waterway”.  

The project is split into six sub-projects, one for each municipality along the 105km long canal. As well as project managing the overall project, Feste Landscape / Architecture (in collaboration with landscape architect Inge Dahlman, artist Maria Klyvare and lighting designer Tobias Olsson) are in charge of the design of the first of the six sub-projects. 

SORIA MORIA at Dalen Hotel

A shingle-clad structure stands on the shore of the Bandak lake. Steep mountainsides delve into deep waters, creating a dramatic vista. A whisk of fog lies gently on the surface.

Soria Moria is a project developed by the Telemark canal regional park in collaboration with Tokke municipality. The project is part of Tales of the Waterway, an overall art project for the Telemark canal, where art, architecture and lighting design are utilised to highlight the inherent qualities of the local landscape and traditions.

 The characteristic silhouette of the structure is an architectural interpretation of the steep mountainsides surrounding the Bandak lake. The wooden shingle cladding is inspired by local building techniques. Integrated in the cladding are gleaming golden shingles. The gold is a reference to local folklore; to the mythical and outlandish. It also references the obvious contrast which arose between the uncultivated people of Telemark and lavish upper-class foreign travellers during the establishment of the nearby Dalen Hotel at the end of the 19th Century. The structure contains a sauna, a changing room and a covered seating area for taking in the views.

With the exception of the Sigurdsevja inlet, the water along the shoreline of the upper end of the Bandak lake is very shallow. The project is therefore constructed on stilts along the inlet to allow for bathing in the lake. The Sigurdsevja inlet is a precise and characteristic landscape formation, and the design of the walkway and sauna building aims to emphasises this particular feature. The walkway becomes part of an existing network of footpaths along the lake, with connections to the nearby Dalen Hotel.

The design has been developed by a Nordic design team consisting of architect David Fjågesund (Feste Landscape / Architecture), landscape architect Inge Dahlman (Landskapsfabrikken), lighting designer Tobias Olsson (ÅF Lighting), artist Maira Änquist Klyvare and Design Team Leader Lars Haakanes (Feste Landscape / Architecture). The contractors Skorve built the project, using mainly local materials.



Project info:

Location: Dalen, Telemark
Client: Telemark Canal Regional Park, Tokke municipality, Dalen Hotel
Architect: David Fjågesund &
Lars Haakanes
Landscape architect: 
Artist: Maria Klyvare
Lighting design:
ÅF Lighting
Project period:  2015-2018