The intension for this space was to achieve a surprise interruption of a situation that, for many, feels narrow, dark and unsafe. As one approaches the pedestrian tunnel, from either side, one glimpses something different within. The surprise occurs as one passes through the tunnel and arrives in a large, open and warm space that is contrary to all expectations. And particularly since this space shatters ones assumptions of such a place, then this space can be perceived as a quiet pause- a meditative space where light, the path of the sun, movement of the heavens, variations of weather and sound becomes clearer. The Rotunda becomes a place where one can stop a while, to notice the sky and sound and to see the heavens mirrored in the ‘eye’ of the Pastille. One can sit and feel the Pastille, and wonder where it comes from and what is inside. Or, it becomes a space that resides in ones memory as one speeds past on a bicycle.
Inevitably, it prompts people to look around and contemplate. It is a good starting point for people to start noticing and appreciating their surroundings. The Rotunda and the Pastille is a holistic artistic and architectural articulation developed with the architect Birger Heyerdahl. However, without the openness of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen), undertaking this project, which is a clear departure from the usual pedestrian tunnel, would never have become a reality.