Generator Chamber, Pålsbu Hydro Power Station, Tunhovd
The building is located just below Pålsbufjorden dam, the uppermost of a series of reservoirs funnelling down to the power station at Nore. The new station generates clean power from the height difference between the old dam and the lake 15 meters below, exploiting an unused potential of the structure. From a sustainable point of view, optimising the output of existing dams instead of establishing new dams or power plants is an important contribution to the preservation of nature and its habitats.
The generator chamber is situated as a free standing building in front of the 530 meter long dam, emphasizing the sculptural quality of the unbroken man made line through the landscape. The choice of concrete for the project was made in order to maintain and enhance the existing qualities of the situation; the solidity of forms, the restraint of means and the roughness of the craftsmanship.
The generator chamber has a diameter of 15 meters and a height of 12 meters. It consists of 15 load bearing precast concrete panels stacked around the turbine and generator. This 52 ton equipment is lifted in place by a crane supported by an in situ concrete framework. The protruding structure of the crane is covered in rough spray-on concrete. There are no gutters; stainless steel profiles are welded to the concrete panels to prevent water from entering the precast holes that serve as screens in front of windows and ventilation openings. The roof is made of prefabricated steel trusses.
The circular layout and the shape of the panels describe the rotation of the water through the generator. The shadows cast onto the old dam and to the building itself indicate the height and the movement of the sun. Rain and water from melting snow running down the walls will enhance growth of lichens on the concrete surfaces, over time transforming the building; slowly making it part of the barren, yet compelling terrain it is situated in.