For as far back as I can remember I have been obsessed with architecture. Especially traditional architecture that blends in with the naturally cultivated landscape – not too grand or too humble – but rich and well-crafted with natural materials and surrounded with lots of trees, berry bushes, vegetable gardens, flowers and other green things. And of course, there would be a stone path and a small stream flowing through the property and perhaps a pond stocked with trout.
So every time I go back to Norway, I visit all the places that I know where I can find inspiration from Scandinavian architecture. Many of the cultural museums in Norway have numerous large farms that are examples of some of the finest timber design that I know. Many of these wooden buildings are over 500 hundred years old, and yet they are still standing there, as sturdy as the day they were built.
Norwegian history is very much tied to the land, and people have been cultivating the landscape for thousands of years. The architecture very much reflects this. Open valleys are dotted with well-maintained farms, broken up by hills, and lush forest before you entered the next valley. I grew up in such a landscape.
Yet there are still vast areas of mountains, wild rivers and great forests all across the country. I spent so much of my childhood exploring this wilderness with my friends and I loved every minute of it, but it is in the cultivated landscape where I feel at home – peaceful and quiet – and not too far away from people, a warm bed, and a well-stocked pantry.
Early Christians felt safer if there were dragon heads on the eaves of the churches to fend of evil. Christ was new to these people who still had deep roots in the ancient Norse beliefs.