My proposal is a cavern blasted into the mountains of Rondane, Norway. The mountain hall facilitates a quarried arena and an underground data center that provides its excess heat to a public swimming pool.

I was inspired by ”In the Hall of the Mountain King,” a musical piece by Edvard Grieg initially written as an act for the play Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen. The story has deep roots in Norwegian folklore and depicts the ”Mountain King” – a troll king living in a large mountain hall in Rondane Mountains. The musical act describes the scene in which Peer Gynt, the human, main character, enters the troll’s kingdom. 

My vision was to recreate this scene, and the sequence of spaces can be experienced as the storyline in the folklore where darkness and goodness coexist. You first approach a shiny roof floating above a mysterious, quarried arena. The arena is sunken into the ground and therefore not visible from a distance. Only the roof is visible, reminding of the portal of a classic fairytale kingdom. As you walk down the steep steps of the arena, it gets darker, and the bottom of the arena has two tunnels leading you deeper into the hill, where the pool facility is. 

The roof is composed of a set of vertical, hollowed aluminum tubes that form a multifaceted profile framing the mountainous backdrop. In contrast to its overside, the underside of the roof is smooth and has a circle-packed roof-light concept that casts a spectrum of light and shadow over the arena. This creates an expressional atmosphere in the arena, whereas the changing villages and pool area have an entirely different character – dark and quiet. Here you are immersed with water and stone only, and there is a mythological sense of peace – you are isolated from the outside world, and if you listen carefully, you can hear the echoes of the mountain king.