Situated on the west coast of Norway, Bjørnafjorden is a spectacular natural environment with verdant hillsides sloping down into to the fjord. There are numerous small islands dotted around the fjord that invite visitors to explore. Scattered houses nestle along the coastline, either in small clusters, or solitary in the natural surroundings. Ships and smaller boats frequently pass in and out of the fjord, creating a loose tempo of activity throughout the day. By introducing a submerged tunnel in this environment, the two land sides will be tied together. Travelers will be able to easily cross the fjord without interrupting marine traffic.
On one hand the architectural approach of the project investigates how a submerged tunnel will affect its surroundings, establishing respectful dialog with the landscape with the fjord crossing standing as a unique element. On the other hand the architectural intent is to offer a safe and enjoyable experience for both for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians crossing the fjord.
Two construction solutions are being investigated for the tunnel, a bottom-anchored solution and one with pontoons. The latter being the only one with a visible impact in the landscape above the water surface.
Like a line of giant’s stepping stones, the pontoons create an intuitive visual connection between the two coastlines. At the same time they are visually indicating the route of the submerged tunnel. Striving to have the pontoons merge into its surroundings they are treated like small artificial islands.
At night the pontoons will be illuminated; appearing as lighted rings floating in the water. Both the water surface and the pontoon’s planted surface will be illuminated, making them visible for ship traffic, but also giving them unique presence in the fjord.