This competition entry called for a new landmark located close to Grjótagjá, an ancient lava cave in northern Iceland. The form of the towering architecture is informed by the movement of tectonic plates and intends to seamlessly integrate into Iceland’s dramatic natural landscape.
The towers gradually emerges from the landscape, rising gracefully from the ground, to stand together as a monument to Grjótagjá’s geology. inspired by the movement and interaction of tectonic plates, the structure gradually ascends into three distinct forms, densifying around a centre away from the fissure and pools. deep narrow channels are aligned with key site landmarks and locations. these channels organize and separate the flow of tourists to Karlagjá, from the locals going to bathe in Kvennagjá, and informs the organization of the whole site.
While the orientation of the geometry has multiple environmental benefits, the architectural forms also help direct visitor attention to certain views and away from the pools of Kvennagjá.
For the roof, the project takes historical reference from Iceland’s turf houses. this local vernacular style offers superior insulation in a harsh climate. learning from this, the proposal would be coated with a sedum layer, containing local species of the grasses and shrubs that surround the site, embedding and contributing to the surrounding greenery.
The drama of the sweeping roofs is best experienced from the inner skin. the interior soffit is clad in a warm timber providing a welcome contrast to the harsh rock outside. Large glazed windows offer dramatic panoramic views across the lava planes to the neighbouring volcano of Hverfjall. the resulting proposal creates a new landmark, integrated into its landscape, informed by historical context and directed by the needs of its visitors.