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The Aurland (or Stegastein) Lookout is a viewing platform which takes visitors out on to a lofty perch overlooking the Aurlandsfjord. The Norwegian Highways Department commissioned the project as part of a publicly funded initiative to boost tourism along the country’s spectacular secondary roads.The National Tourist Routes Project has engaged innovative architects to introduce lookouts, picnic areas, parking lots, public restrooms and other modestly scaled, nature-attuned structures into Norway’s stunning landscapes.
Like a ski jump or high footbridge, the Aurland Lookout has a gravity-defying quality, as if suspending visitors in thin air. The viewing platform, clad in pine over a steel structure, offers a long, bridge-like path which doubles back on itself like a great sideways V, and cantilevers over the fjord.
At the path’s end, some 650 m (2,133 ft) above sea level, only a canted pane of clear safety glass separates viewers from a plunge over the edge. This transparent panel leaves the pristine vista unobstructed.
The side rails, constructed of glue-laminated pine planks, follow the V’s curve, accentuating the structure’s acute angle and sudden downward slope.
The structure is inserted into the mountainside without sacrificing the existing pine grove, allowing view seekers on the platform to stroll out amid treetops. The structure, which rests on concrete foundations, touches the ground minimally, barely impinging on the site’s natural beauty.