A collaboration between artist James Turrell and office a-works | architecture + art.
The Hardanger Skyspace, commissioned by the contemporary art center Kunsthuset Kabuso, is a collaboration between the light and space artist James Turrell and a-works. The work is situated in a public park on the shores of the vast Hardanger fjord facing the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, the largest of its kind in Europe.
A monolithic structure sits firmly in the landscape, composed from a series of custom prefabricated concrete elements. Its colour recalls the local slate and its stepped texture, the wood siding of houses and nearby church. Its character evokes that of the many sacred spaces before it, made by stacking stones atop stones. Like them, the Skyspace is simultaneously of its landscape yet independent from it, oriented in relation to the cosmic elements and forces beyond - in this case the movement of the earth, sun and moon .
The ability of the architecture to shift our perception plays a central role in the work. From a distance, the stacked construction betrays its actual height of 7+ meters which only becomes apparent up close, where each element is not the size of wood boards but of large stones. The straight-edged octagonal exterior gives way to a fluid elliptical interior that, once lit up, transforms into an endless space filled with colour, as if solid. A perimeter concrete bench surrounds a smooth and slightly curved concrete floor. All is one material, one thing. High above, the elliptical oculus exposes the sky, which is no longer perceived as a stable colour but an endless array of hues at the whim of the changing colour inside. What is solid melts into thin air and what is immaterial suddenly gains physical presence.