Contest concept for an observation deck in Iceland, shortlisted for the Bee Breeders competition, emphasizes the unique landscape of the Hverfjall volcano - a combination of harsh, sometimes gloomy nature and inspiring atmosphere. While exploring the territory, the team delved into the historical context of Iceland: the falcon is of great importance in Icelandic mythology and culture, which prompted the authors to use the images of a feather and a nest when developing the concept. The project consists of two parts - an observation deck and a cave on the way to it.
Iceland Volcano Lookout Point Competition
Sergey Senkevich, Andrey Shmelev, Victoria Poryvaeva, Ekaterina Starovoitova
The observation deck – the feather - is formed by two curved steel plates with canopies that create two semi-enclosed spaces with partial separation, thus allowing visitors to move easily and freely along the existing route. The formed niches are oriented towards the valley and the vent of the volcano. Each part of the site is deep enough to protect visitors from wind and rain and has its own built-in seats.
The cave – the nest – is a closed underground space located in the middle of the southeastern path to the site. Compositionally the cave consists of two circular in plan zones - a small entrance platform and an enclosed inner part. The floor and the ceiling of the cave form mirrored amphitheaters, the steps of which refer to the structure of a falcon’s nest thanks to its dynamic shape. The resulting space can be used as a recreation zone for visitors on their way up or as an independent tourist attraction.
When admiring the breathtaking yet severe views from Hverfjall Volcano, the visitors remain defenseless against nature. Records suggest that the distribution of the wind around the crater does not have a specific direction. A wind speed of 10 m/s is considered normal and rarely drops below 5 m/s. In such circumstances sheltering tourists from the wind while walking, at least for a while, will improve the experience. The intricate shape of the observation deck creates secluded areas for a comfortable respite after a long climb up the slope of the volcano. CFD analysis of the wind flows around the structure shows a significant decrease in wind speed compared to the undisturbed section owing to the breaking of the flow.
The concept of the volcano observation deck is an energy-neutral building in which engineering systems are minimized and only demonstration lighting from solar panels is left. According to the project's energy model, 100 m2 of solar panels will be sufficient to cover lighting needs for most of the year. Another feature is the use of 3D printing and excavated soil in finishing and new construction. The use of existing soil reduces emissions from transporting materials, and 3D printing achieves an energy-efficient building geometry that subsequently requires less material than conventional construction.