Bee Breeders is wrapping up its first country-based architecture competition series, with its third prospective site located in northern Iceland.
This international call for ideas tasked participants with proposing a design solution for a Volcano Museum near Hverfjall volcano in Iceland's Dimmuborgir region.
The famed Hverfjall Volcano has a large, circular crater measuring roughly 140 meters deep and 1,000 meters wide, estimated to have been created 2500 years ago by a volcanic explosion.
The craters dimensions make it one of the largest on land in the world. Today, two walking paths permit visitor and trekker access to the rim of the crater - one from the northwest, and one from the south.
For the Iceland Volcano Museum competition, Bee Breeders sought submissions for a multi-purpose exhibition hall with café and informational space, as a landing point for visitors to the Hverfjall.
The intent for this building is to be flexible, the capacity to host 3 to 4 temporary installations simultaneously. The program brief also called for an office complex, with 15 to 20 workspaces, meeting rooms, private offices, and open-plan office spaces for employees.
The proposed site, located between Myvatn Lake and the Hverfjall, is stark, yet stunning. A goal for this potential new landmark is to create a place for visitors which enhances the experience of this beautiful natural site.
The submissions took full advantage of this environment not only to locate an exhibition space, but also to design a building integrated with its surroundings. Many sought to re-create the volcano in form, with large circular or conical volumes and crater-like inner courts. Others used volcanic rock or local stone to clad or serve as the structure for the building. The jury, above all, sought clear and sensitive design ideas for buildings that materially and visually connected with the landscape, without artificially attempting to mimic it.
Bee Breeders applauds the winning and shortlisted entries below, and to all of the participants that offered design ideas for this Volcano Museum.
We look forward to hosting other future country-based competition series, which focus Bee Breeders' global audience of architects on a specific and unique region, through a selection of local sites that might benefit from new buildings, installations, or design ideas.
Jury feedback summary
'The Windows of Hverfjall' describes in its text proposition the experiential entry sequence of the visitor. While the building is an exhibition space, it also serves as a landing point for the region's many trekkers. It is square in plan and divided into three parts: for reception, exhibition, and offices. The building is low and horizontal in profile with a planted roof and accentuated with a fine steel edge profile. This horizontality is well-balanced by a series of vertical light wells clad in weathered steel. The finish floor of the entire structure is cleverly sunken four feet below the exterior ground plane; this serves the dual function of allowing the sightline of the arriving visitor to be set above the roof plane for direct views of the volcano beyond, as well as endowing inhabitants with the sense of being partially submerged within the ground. The drawings and imagery of this proposition are advanced and beautiful, with a great sense of balance.