International Architecture Competition

Iceland
Black Lava Fields
Visitor Center

Results

Foreword

Competition organisers

Iceland 
Black Lava Fields 
Visitor Center

Bee Breeders is rolling out its first country-based architecture competition series, with three spectacular prospective sites located in northern Iceland. In the debut competition of this series, we are seeking design proposals for a new visitor center to be located between Myvatn Lake and Hverfjall volcano, within the famed Black Lava Fields of Iceland’s Dimmuborgir region. Participants were asked to consider design solutions that are compatible with and take advantage of the site’s surroundings: by incorporating contextually-appropriate materials, by offering panoramic views of nearby lava rocks and birch trees, and by providing a well-suited place for viewing the seasonal northern lights.

The term ‘Dimmuborgir’ evolves from the Icelandic word for Dark Castles. Its landscape is comprised of dramatic, dynamic black rock formations, the result of a volcanic eruption dated to 2,300 years ago, when molten lava is supposed to have flowed across wetlands, causing the water to boil and vapour to rise through the lava, and thereby creating unique lava ‘pillars’ that vary from a few centimetres to several metres in diameter.

Dimmuborgir is one of Iceland's most popular destinations. Thousands of tourists make the journey here each year. With the Iceland Black Lava Fields Visitor Center architecture competition, Bee Breeders is seeking an innovative new structure that will perform as a landing point for this incredible landscape, to replace the current visitor center constructed from container modules. For this design competition, it was asked that the height of the new building be kept to a single floor, with the possibility to locate program one level underground. The visitor center is to be operational year-round. There is a need for site parking, and all facilities are to be accessible to the handicapped. 

Proposals drew from Icelandic heritage and traditional materials, experimented with varied forms, and considered ways of balancing opacity with transparency to offer both insulation from the cold and views to the surroundings. Several used ramped structures to elevate visitors to higher viewing points. Others brought visitors below ground. Those proposals that were restrained and respectful to the site spoke most clearly to the jury, who sought ideas for maintaining the landscape’s harmony. 

Bee Breeders would like to thank the participants for their time and energy in realizing this new collection of design ideas.

1ST PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Cast in fire

Country

Denmark

Project authors

Mikkel Vadstrup Schmidt

jury commentary

The building’s form is sculptural, defined by sharp edges and contours corresponding to the sharp forms of the site’s rock formations. This dark metal cladding is balanced by warm, light-coloured woods on the interior. The open plan is organized around a fireplace and skylight. ‘Cast in Fire’ compares the process of extreme heating that produced the site’s unique landscape, with the process of extreme heating used to produce the type of steel structure and metal panels that form the bones and skin of this building. The question is, how sustainable is this process?

2ND PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

BLACK LAVA FIELDS VISITOR CENTER

Company

Archty

Country

Brazil

Project authors

Luís Henrique Alcântara
Vladimir Alcântara

jury commentary

This submission is derived from the ‘mass of coagulated rock that forms the shape of the site.’ The square-shaped building supports a series of ramped roof viewing platforms and wraps an ‘open gallery landscape’ with a succession of enclosed programs, including an exhibition space and cafe. The form of the stepped interior courtyard also makes its way into the building as a stepped gallery and social space. The jury found the proposal beautifully rendered with simple, crisp images and a clear concept for interacting with this precious site.

3RD PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

BLACK ROCK

Company

Sala hars

Country

United States

Project authors

Juan Sala
Douglas Harsevoort

jury commentary

‘Black Rock’ is a triangular building based on 5 means through which to observe the site: vertically through skylights and a larger ‘sky frame’; and horizontally through exterior terraces, seated galleries, and seated dining. The building is triangular in form and clad in dark burned wood, which works well in dialogue with the site’s dark-colored rock formations. The jury applauds the proposal’s organization in plan, and its raising of the building on pilotis to protect against exposure to moisture. It questions the details of the facade, which is clad in panels shaped like oars of the ancient Vikings so important to this region: aside from endowing the building with crafted wooden elements, can these forms also aid the building in a functional way?

 

BB STUDENT AWARD

Project Name

Black Lava Fields Visitor Center

University

Technical university braunschweig

Country

Germany

Project authors

Annika Möbs
Johanna Spies von Büllesheim

BB GREEN AWARD

Project Name

The Monolith of Dimmuborgir

Country

Denmark

Project authors

Asger Rasmussen
Sebastian Zapata Ottung Henriksen
Victor Ohn-Breumlund

Honorable mentions

VIEWclose HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Project Name

STONE WOOD VEGETATION

Country

Germany

Project authors

Anna Laura Hölz
Stefan Pflips

Project Name

SPACES OF STORIES

Country

Canada

Project authors

Gregory Brais Sioui
Frederic Champagne

Project Name

Sleeping Volcano

Country

Hungary

Project authors

Davor Robitschko

Project Name

Kirjka Turf House

University

Cornell university

Country

United States

Project authors

Joseph Kim
Axelle Bosman

Project Name

THE PORTAL TO THE DARK CASTLES

Country

Australia

Project authors

Xinyi Wang

Project Name

Dimmuborgir Visitor Centre

Country

Australia

Project authors

Catalina Edey

Shortlisted projects

VIEWclose Shortlisted projects

Australia

University of canberra

tai terupo

United Kingdom

lisa moffitt
calum rennie
laura haylock

Italy

indra samala alam
natasha brenda kasim
thomas hahnke

Norway

rune nistad
daniel loe
vlad lyakhov

United States

Cornell university

joseph kim
axelle bosman

Argentina

davina bonino
gustavo barrirero
leandro copello

Sweden

Polymorf

albin karlsson
johanna jonsson

Denmark

asger rasmussen
sebastian zapata ottung henriksen
victor ohn-breumlund

Hong Kong

The university of hong kong

chun hon ma
ka wah francis cheung
ngai lam ellen lau

Greece

panayotis malefakis
anna maria chatzi
nicol lambrou

Czech Republic

Archicraft

petra dagan
tomáš cieśla
miroslav krátký
anežka straková

Iran

pegah shariatmadari
mahsa mohebali
asal abrishambaf
maryam amini

United States

jeff vandeberg
tao kostman

United States

University of minnesota, twin-cities

ray heikkila
sam winemiller

Canada

gregory brais sioui
frederic champagne

United States

garrett nelli
gabriel quijada

Germany

anna laura hölz
stefan pflips

United States

Cline design associates

dan rider
martin chavanne
shawn michael
jen hocke

United States

andrew kotleski
josh mcdonald
omar aboulezz

United States

Sala hars

juan sala
douglas harsevoort

Germany

Technical university braunschweig

annika möbs
johanna spies von büllesheim


United Kingdom

iain tregoning
john roberts

Brazil

Archty

luís henrique alcântara
vladimir alcântara

Germany

marcello bramigk bonon
binh minh dao
john paul kaufel

United States

adin rimland
keshav ramaswami

Italy

chiara magnani
dario alberti
francesco colinucci
 

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