The ambition is high as Gaustablikk gets ready for a major makeover. A new vibrant centre square, fun activities and a hotel full of secrets and experiences. As well as a new top station and an outdoor spa to connect the Skipsfjell peak with Lake Kvitåvatn.
Since the beginning of the 70’s, Gaustablikk has been a name associated with quality, care and long-term commitment. And the same applies to the future. Winter 2018, Gaustablikk changed hands, which meant a new owner for both the hotel and ski centre. A new Master Plan has been put together full of ideas about how a new Gaustablikk will become the vibrant centre of‘destination Gausta’. Behind the plan is Anders Koller Tufte and his colleagues at Norwegian architects, Nordic.
– The goal is a gradual, careful modernization in which Gaustablikk’s genuine qualities are refined while service, activities and offers can meet the new demands and expectations of our time, explains Anders Koller Tufte.
– When I first came to Gaustablikk, I was struck by the location and the huge potential. There isn’t a hotel that can offer such a sunny location, close to a lake overlooking Gaustatoppen – while having the ski centre right next door. It’s unique,” says Anders Koller Tufte.
The low structure of the hotel in dark wood almost blends into the terrain. It’s a quality you want to preserve, but Anders also sees a value in giving Gaustablikk a silhouette. When the hotel now begins to take shape, it takes the form of a higher wing, whose characteristic roof profile reminds us of the mountain world and the valley of Rjukan.
– In the new rooms, we want you to come in and feel “there is winter,” “there is summer” – we don’t want anything that stands in the way.
Lighter wood and large glass panels will embody the exterior of the new wing. This is where the new rooms will be situated, a new restaurant and evening activities like boules and shuffleboard.
Anders wants to transform today’s hotel and ski centre parking area into a living square with an atmosphere like the Austrian Alps. In the sketches, the old fire dam turns into an activity area with ice skating in wintertime and water activities in summer.
– Everyone comes to Gausta to experience the nature. Therefore, we want to promote outdoor activities that create life and movement even in the evening.
The square that is formed will be framed by the surrounding buildings. First, the existing hotel to open onto the square with new entrances for the spa, reception and restaurant; partly a new apartment building that will accommodate a bakery. To the east are the slopes and the existing cafe’s and bars serving warm food and drinks.
–Everyone who comes to Gaustablikk should instinctively be able to find what they are looking for. We want to open the hotel for cabin guests and visitors and offer services and activities that everyone can feel part of.
The new Master Plan addresses the possibility of giving the area around Gaustablikk clearly defined zones. To the east, the slopes offer speed and activity, the southern part of the hotel provides room for dining and evening activities. While the contemplative tranquility spreads towards Gaustatoppen, Kvitåvatn and the view. In the northern corner of the hotel where the swimming pool is today, you can experience the mystique and the magical calm surrounding Kvitåvatn.
A new, high-grade spa facility is also high on the wish list for the new Gaustablikk. There will be no place for beer in the sauna. Instead the ambition is a meditative place with time and space for reflection.
– We have partly found inspiration from Vals in Switzerland. What we want to investigate is how fire, warm wood and the cold stone can interact and create something unique to Gausta. The new spa will be a destination in itself, something that, on its own, will motivate a journey to Gausta.
– Kvitåvatn also has an important role to play in the design of the new spa facility. The magic and the mystery around the lake is an atmosphere we want to work with. One possibility we see is having floating units on the lake moored at a pier. Every thing to maximize the feeling of being in the middle of nature.
A new chairlift is planned to bring skiers and hotel guests up to a new spectacular top station at the peak of Skipsfjellet. Here you can enjoy a magnificent panorama with a 360 degree view of
the valley of Rjukan, Gaustatoppen, Gaustablikk, Kvitåvatn and the surrounding mountains.
– The top station could also feature a restaurant and bar, but it could also be a spa facility with a view, explains Anders Koller Tufte.
Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell has a dark wood exterior well suited to the surrounding landscape. The traditional exterior is both something you want to modernize and manage. In Gaustablikk it should be clear how all of the hotel’s parts are connected. Therefore, the new hotel wing, the new peak station and spa units at Kvitåvatn will have a colour, design and materials that connect with each other.
In Rjukan and Gausta there is a tradition of preserving secrets. The heavy water operation, the secret radio station and the train – Gaustabanen – to the top are just a few. Anders sees this as an opportunity to dramatize the hotel’s appeal.
– We see an opportunity for the hotel to offer the same sense of adventure. There could be secret rooms and surprises that are just waiting to be discovered during your stay.
Bor: Brannfjell, Ekeberg, Oslo
Early project: Destination development, especially in the mountains. Gausta, Tyin and Tromsø. Kvitfjell, Voss and Hurdal.
Preferably: Snowboarding and cross country skiing.