location / Iceland
status / competition 2016
in collaboration with /
Górecki Architecture Studio - Dominik Górecki
Be3design - Agnieszka Wyrwas, Krzysiek Stępień

conceptual design

Iceland, a mystical place, country of sharp contrasts, a place where fire and ice co-exist. A country of legends, myths, folklore stories and vibrant culture. A place of atmospheric landscapes with cliffs and volcanos, icebergs and glaciers, warm geysers and picturesque auroras.

iceland trekking cabin

Over 1000 years ago, the Vikings sailed from Scandinavia to America without the use of magnetic compasses, astrolabes, maps or any other known device. Yet they still managed to find their way in spite of the clouds, fog and long summer twilights characteristic of near Polar Regions. Centuries old Viking legends attribute their navigational success to the use of mysterious “glowing sunstones” to find the position of the sun and set the ship's course even on cloudy days. Although still controversial, many researchers now believe that these "magical sunstones" were in fact Iceland spar.

iceland trekking cabin

We used this legend as a base for our design concept for Iceland Trekking Cabins. Like 1000 years ago magical and mysterious stones guided explorers, so it is today the trekking cabin sets the route to the fire where trekkers can rest and refuel, but also where they can share their own tales with other explores by storytelling around the central fireplace.

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As a base of the cabin plan we took a form of a hexagon which is naturally formed shape mapped in Iceland rocks, crystals and ice. This shape also helps in master plan composition if more than one cabin is required at specific locations. Connecting cabins into clusters further enhance the idea of shape of crystals and basalt formations in the landscape. Fire in the central point of the cabin is a heart of it. This heart-fire glow is visible from the distance and help to find a way to warm enclosure where trekkers can rest during their journey. Around this warm heart on ground floor are situated daily functions like storage, pantry, toilet, kitchen, dining. Upstairs, around are situated sleeping rooms which resembles sleeping around the fire. This way arrivals to the cabin in different time wouldn't disturb those who are sleeping already. Above bedrooms floor there is a attic floor with high windows around the building’s perimeter which can be used as viewing terrace or as additional sleeping area during severe siege by guests. This would be a great spot to see immensity of breathtaking northern lights, magnificent surroundings and landmarks, to discuss and plan future trips.

iceland trekking cabin

The cabin is shaped like a crystal where base is wider and then narrowed towards the sky. Provided height gives a possibility to use Icelandic wind for electricity production by vertical-axis wind turbine, located on top of the cabin. Timber frame structure with mineral wool insulation allows for cold bridge free construction and prefabrication. The outer shell of the cabin is constructed from perforated metal sheets, white silver in colour, which reflect surroundings and allows for internal light to glow through at night. This contrast with warm wood interior and figuratively refers to contrasting landscapes of Iceland, where cold and shiny icebergs hide warm inside with geysers and lava. Patterns of metal perforations are inspired by Iceland ice crystals and stars of the milky way. Thanks to a light beacon top part of the cabin is brightening like a crystal lantern and visible from long distances.

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