Opening of Allmannajuvet by architect Peter Zumthor

Allmannajuvet in Sauda and the abandoned zinc mines from the late 1800s have inspired architect Peter Zumthor to create yet another historical art installation along the National Tourist Routes.

Allmannajuvet, with its characteristic landscape and rich cultural history, is one of the 10 largest attractions along the National Tourist Routes. In 2002, world-renowned architect Peter Zumthor was commissioned by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration to design a tourist route attraction for the purpose of welcoming visitors and bringing the old mining history of Sauda back to life. The simplistic buildings are inspired by the mining operation, the drudgery and the workers’ strenuous everyday lives. The installation consists of a museum building, a café building, toilet and parking facilities, paths and stairs.


All the buildings were prefabricated in Saudasjøen and then assembled in Allmannajuvet. The exterior support system consists of creosote impregnated laminated wood. The exterior walls of the building consist of 18 mm plywood sheets and jute burlap, coated with a German acrylic material (pmma).

The interior walls have been painted in a dark colour to resemble a gallery. The foundation work of the museum building and the café building, with its high demands for precision, is some of the most demanding work carried out in Norway.

The parking facility has been masoned with natural stone from Hardanger. The stones were transported from Jondal to Sauda. The visible corner of the wall is approximately 18 metres tall and has been firmly fixed three metres to the riverbed.


The zinc mines in Allmannajuvet were in operation from 1882 to 1898. 12,000 tons of ore was produced during those 16 years. The first discovery of ore in Sauda was recorded on 2 October 1881. The ore was transported by steamboat along Saudafjorden and sold abroad. In the first years, the ore had to be transported by packsaddle from the mines to the fiords. The horses carried 100 kilos of ore; the men each carried 25 kilos.

In the summer of 2011, Steilneset Memorial in Vardø was opened. The attraction was a collaboration between Zumthor, artist Louise Bourgeois and historian Liv Helene Willumsen. While Steilneset was raised in memory of the people in Finnmark who fell victim to the government’s witchcraft persecutions in the 1600s, Allmannajuvet emerges as a monument of the mining operation and the miners’ life of hardship in the late 1800s.


The National Tourist Routes attraction comprises 18 selected drives through beautiful Norwegian scenery, where the experience is enhanced by innovative architecture and thought-provoking art. The tourist routes are varied and travel through areas with unique qualities of nature, along coasts and fiords, mountains and waterfalls.

National Tourist Route Ryfylke travels between Oanes at Lysefjorden and Hårå in Røldal, and it is 260 km long.

On Thursday 8 September, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration opens the new attraction Allmannajuvet, designed by architect Peter Zumthor. ​

Architect: Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner
Main contractor: Mesta AS
Consultant engineer: Finn-Erik Nilsen
Completed: 2016