You wouldn’t know it by walking through the area today, but the Allmannajuvet gorge in Norway was once home to a thriving zinc operation. Now, thanks to famed Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, the site has been re-purposed into a scenic tourist attraction, designboom reports.

Raised above the ravine on stilts, the cluster of buildings that make up the Zinc Mine Museum have been designed to match their surrounding landscape. The project began in 2002 as an effort to attract visitors to Norway’s new network of national tourist routes. Zumthor was commissioned with the task of transforming the old zinc museum in the town of Sauda into a structure people would want to visit.

The attraction houses a restroom, parking garage, and cafe, but according to Zumthor the real museum is the mine itself, which operated for much of the 1880s and 1890s. Tour groups will be taken underground by local guides to experience the historical site firsthand.

"The working conditions must have been terrible. You cannot stand upright in the tunnels, you have to go miles into the mountain, where it’s cold in summer and winter," Zumthor told Icon. "So it gave us the idea to be modest in everything we did. Not poor, but modest."

The museum is set to open to the public early September.

[h/t designboom]

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