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The Iceland Black Lava Fields Visitor Center competition was the first in a series of competitions set in sites across northern Iceland. The jury selected winning proposals that 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. 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.

The first prize winner was Mikkel Vadstrup Schmidt from Denmark. His ‘Cast in Fire’ project featured sharp edges and contours corresponding to the sharp forms of the site’s rock formations. The dark metal cladding was balanced by warm, light-coloured woods on the interior with an open plan organized around a fireplace and skylight.

Second prize was awarded to Luís Henrique Alcântara and Vladimir Alcântara of the Brazil-based company ARCHTY, whose submission derived from the ‘mass of coagulated rock that forms the shape of the site.’ Third prize went to a team from a US-company Sala Hars. Entrants Juan Sala and Douglas Harsevoort designed a triangular building based on five means through which the site can be observed.

To see the entries in full, along with high res images and details about out Green Award winners from Denmark, and Student Award winners from Technical University Braunschweig, visit

1st prize

2nd prize

3rd prize