IFLA: Cultural Landscapes Committee

best practices > sample project summaries

“The cabin is where the soul belongs”
A study of values in the recreational landscape and
cabin- users view on the landscape

Cultural Landscape Type: Natural

Project Name: Washington’s Headquarters Cultural Landscape Report and Rehabilitation of Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge

Project Type: Master thesis, Dep. of Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning Location: The Norwegian mountain- landscape

Location: HemsHemsedal, Norway

Contact: Marianne Harstad Hallan, Landscape architect MNLA (mariannehallan@gmail.com), Tore Edvard Bergaust, Landscape architect MNLA and supervisor, professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (toreb@umb.no)

NorwayWashington’s HeadquartersWashington’s Headquarters
HemsHemsedal, Norway, a mountain landscape touched
by man, a bit of cultural landscape which give an
experience of history in the meeting of untouched nature.
Photo: Marianne H. Hallan

Project Description:

The cabin is of great importance to the modern Norwegians, and it seems to be vital for our connection to our roots. It is a challenge for the local authorities to both take care of a vulnerable landscape, and secure an income for the local community which follows development of cabin- areas.

According to my research Norwegians have a close and almost romantic relation to their cabin and the landscape which surrounds it. They want a landscape which gives the opportunity to be active, to experience history and a “untouched” mountain- landscape. These wishes and the need to place the cabins in the “best” areas, creates a large pressure on the vulnerable landscape in the mountains.                                                        

Because of this, we need to put a stop to the development of cabins in the most vulnerable mountain- areas. Instead of “living” in the most beautiful and attractive areas, the cabin- users have to experience these places by bike, hiking or skiing. We also have to focus on a carefully planned development. In this process the landscape architect has an very important role in making the interventions in the landscape as small as possible, and to customize the development to the landscape.

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. . .deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world.

World Heritage Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972