Gjøvik Olympic Mountain Hall is located in the town center - certified for almost 6.000 people, however you still can not see it. With its nine floors and floor area covering a whole block of the town centre, this sort of sports hall would be completely out of place in a small township of 1 - 2 story buildings. Well, it doesnt, its built 120 meters deep inside the mountain.
The architects responsible for the Cavern made the first sketches in 1989, and participated actively in the marketing and development of the hall until it was complete.
The room layout for the hall was large and complex, having to accomodate a number of special requirements from athletes, the media and the VIP’s. The company were also aware of their responsibility for making this very special Olympic Hall into an architectural experience. The Olympic Venues were intended to express Norwegian culture and character. This huge hall, deep in the hill brings echoes of the Mountain King, and the caves of the fairy-tale trolls with their gleaming hoards of treasure. The intention has been to give visitors exactly these sort of «fairy-tale» feelings. For this reason the gunite, which is concrete sprayed onto the cavern walls, is dark and mysterious. The lightning allows deep contrasts, from the entrance tunnel which is fairly dark with pools of concentrated light, to the hall itself, awash with light, emphasising its enourmous dimensions. The contrast between the dark, uneven heavy rock, the nature and the technology is important , as the choice of colours and materials also were determined by the rock. The magnificient red rock, which is visible in only a few places was the basis for the choice of red as the main colour.
THE OPENING CEREMONY
The opening ceremony of the Gj¢vik Olympic Mountain Hall took place on May 6, 1993 and was celebrated with a hugely entertaining televised show, attended by more than 5000 people.
The Minister of Culture Ms. Åse Kleveland held the opening speech.
BAPTISM OF FIRE
The Mountain Hall attracted worldwide attention during the Olympic Winter Games in February 1994. The arena was venue for 16 icehockeymatches, inluding two quarterfinals and one semi final. The caverns received a great deal of praise and carried off its baptism of fire with style and elegance.