Architecture

Iceland Northern Lights Rooms

This competition tasked participants with envisioning a concept for a guest house, where visitors can privately observe and directly engage with this unusual geographic setting. The chosen location adjacent to Mývatn lake, is a site of 9 hectares in the northeast region of Iceland.

Competition participants were asked to deliver design proposals for accommodations to house permanent hosts and up to 20 temporary guests. Submissions were asked to include host facilities in addition to a series of simply-designed single and double transportable guest room modules, with the capacity to sleep up to four, and a skylight through which to view the northern lights at night. In order to be relocated on site, these guest rooms are to moveable, without permanent foundations. Due to the delicate nature of the region no permanent construction is to take place within 200 metres of the lake. The brief also requested the inclusion of spaces to house a dining area, facilities to serve all users simultaneously, additional common spaces for group use, and a barn for 10 Icelandic horses which live outdoors year-round.

Our goal was to propose a simple structure for each unit and facility with a recurrent shape theme, the circle. The distribution of the buildings are meant to suggest a promenade within the site. Starting from the host house, the visitor approaches the guest facility throughout a round shaped path. Here, guests can enjoy together, in a peaceful and safe place, outdoor performances in the observatory arena, as well as dining in the cafeteria or relaxing in the lounges or saunas. Also, a conference room is provided along with a small shop.

Located towards the lake, each guest room is served by straight paths. Once inside, the spherical wooden envelope of the unit fades to a large glazing surface to be intended as a screen to the northern light. The vision is clear, exclusive and private. Units do not interfere to each other given their radial disposition within the area.
The structure of the guest room is a modular geodetic wooden frame composed of a triangular pattern, sitting on a trailer. This feature allow the owner to move the units just by carrying it within along the straight paths.
The guest rooms, as requested, are of two sizes to accommodate up to 4 people and equipped with a small kitchenette and private bathroom.
Finally, each unit is designed to be self-sufficient. Heat pump (for hot water and fancoil heating system), water tank and pull-out black/grey water tank are provided below the floor. The guest room and guest facility electrical system is wired (located along the paths) and powered by the wind farm at barn location.

INTERVIEW EXTRACT

BRIEF INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECTS THAT YOU/YOUR COMPANY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH. FOR INSTANCE WHAT SCALE HAVE YOU FOCUSED ON/PREFERRED, ANY SIGNIFICANT PROJECTS WHERE COMPANY/ INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN INVOLVED?

NOUSFERA LAB’S works range from the urban to the interior design scale. During the past few years we have had the opportunity to apply all our skills and knowledge in projects such as a Skate Park and RV’s park, each within a urban renovation programme. Also, residential projects such as new construction and renovation. Lately, we have been involved in the design of commercial buildings and offices.
Our team is composed of a group of inspired, creative and talented individuals with varying skills.

 

WHAT DOES ARCHITECTURE MEAN TO YOU AND WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN ARCHITECT IN YOUR SOCIETY?

Architecture creates emotions and moves the people’s soul, as well as music and figurative art.
We believe that architecture is more than a building or, in general, a construction. A project works better if there is something to “tell”. If, through a piece of architecture that belongs to this era, it reflects the people – their needs, culture and tradition – and respects the context, the landscape and its resources.
We believe in the importance of the thought process behind a project, in order to lead the design theme to its essence. We have worked on several projects, each of a different nature and scale. Every time, we have investigated the meaning of the argument, then we tried to represent it through the emotions produced by the designed spaces.
The architect has the responsibility to carry within his projects either aesthetic, ethic and moral messages. (s)He should bring into the contemporary era a sort of peace between the scientific and the ethical progress.

 

WHY DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN ARCHITECTURE VISION COMPETITIONS?

Each competition is an opportunity to grow. Competing and confronting with other equally prepared firm/individuals pushes us to improve, experimenting and going beyond our limits, within the architectural field.

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO INDIVIDUALS WHO STRUGGLE TO DECIDE WHETHER IT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL FOR THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN ARCHITECTURE VISION COMPETITIONS?

We believe that the motivation to design a great architectural project, like in an architectural competition, should be inherent to the nature of the architect. Therefore, we suggest risking, creating a team, and keep stimulating our own architectural “fire”!

STATUS
COMPETITION (HONORABLE MENTION)
YEAR
2018
LOCATION
ICELAND
TYPE
RECREATIONAL
SERVICES
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN, INTERIOR
CATEGORIES
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