Tourist facilities at Hengifossá

The characteristic gorge of Hengifoss attracts tourists from all over the world. With its colourful horizontal stripes it is created by the Hengifossá, with its slim waterfall that is perceived almost as a void, an open slit in the landscape. The service facilities, as a response, grows out of the same landscape and creates a a new gorge, a sheltered space which opens towards the west and the sun. Skálin and skálinn, the two gorges, creates a symbiosis that blend start and end of the journey in the vast Icelandic landscape.

The project was awarded 1.prize in the open national competition organized by the local municipality Fljótsdalshreppur, in association with Arkitektafélag Íslands. The exterior 3D visualizations was made by Vizstudio Espen Tomren.

The entrance of the exhibition / sales facilities are placed in a constructed void, a light slit that divides the building and echoes the waterfall at the end of the hike. The steep ascent at the start of the hike offers good views of the Fljótsdal and the roof landscape, the green fields extending onto the roof, making the building blend with its surroundings.

In stead of making an ascent on the steepest part of the hillside, on the eastern side (as suggested in the local plan), the ascent departs towards the west and defines a more natural startingpoint / endpoint for the hike, from the sheltered yard of the service facilites. This deliberate line of movement also activates the southwestern hillside, as a complementary resting place on sunny days.

In stead of placing the new pedestrian bridge to the eastern side of the Hengifossá down by the main road (also suggested in the local plan), it is placed at the start of the ravine and designed as part of the landscape esthetics. The unnecessary «detour» for the hikers down to the main road is thus avoided, and the bridge span is reduced considerably, since the Hengifossá is narrower at this point.

The overall scheme is not dependent on these suggested changes from the local plan, but the concept is greatly strengthened by them and the overall experience is enhanced if they are executed.

The layout is simple and logical – every activity is well connected and equally opens towards the yard. It turns its back towards the parking, and opens up towards the movement through the landscape. The exhibition / sales facilities are separated from the toilets, making the toilets and exhibition areas independently accessible. The characteristic slit through the sales area creates a bright space and at the same time sufficient wall space for the exhibition and sales stands. The skylight also have an inverted effect, and serve as a beacon of light leading the way for hikers on their way back to the lower valley at dusk and dawn.

The choice of materials for the service facilities building also draws its inspiration from the surrounding landscape, both from the Hengifoss and the Litlanesfoss. Dark concrete (in-situ or prefabricated elements) with dark aggregate plays with the colours of the adjacent terrain, and the surface structure abstractly enlivens the facades. As a colorful contrast, resembling the red horisontal lines of the Hengifoss lava layering, red anodized aluminium is used for signage and other secondary elements in the interior.

The design strategy for the landscape elements along the hiking trail is based on the river profile, running flat – falls – running flat, and the perceived void of the river in the landscape. This is the basic inspiration for the signs, benches, gates, brook crossings and bridges along the hiking trail. These elements are dispersed evenly throughout the landscape to minimalize the impact on the environment.

The landscape elements have concrete foundations with the same colour / aggregate as the service facilites. The folded surfaces are made from lacquered carbon steel as a strong base structure. On the steel, signage in red anodized aluminium and sitting surfaces in naturally weathered larch are mounted, adapted to the entended use. The colours blend in with the landscape, except for the anodized aluminium plates which acts as subtle visible markers.


Viking Age Museum

« History creates us, and we create history. The Viking Age have shaped us as proud individuals, but also as a proud nation, and this must be dealt with respectfully. Understanding the ships and their sacred vaults as a continuus legacy, where the ships and halls are inseparable parts of one another, is vital for a contemporary reading of history. The new Viking Age Museum´s vision starts here, accepting that the «church» without its «relics» is an empty place, stripped of meaning.»


The competition proposal was done as a collaborative work of the Architects Collective EX3 at Hydrogenfabrikken, Fredrikstad, which consists of ZIS AS, Handegård Arkitektur AS and VizStudio (3D visualizations).

The Viking Ship Museum currently plays a vital role in the dissemination of the Viking age. The existing building has its own significant story, being a prime example of a design for an object based dissemination of archeology. Each object is taken out of its context and focused on individually, placed in display cases (smaller items) as well as individually designed halls (the ships). This understanding, and their manifestation in the existing building, are also part of our history, our legacy. The narrow halls create a sense of closeness to the ships, an intimacy where one can almost touch the wood, smell the tar and salt water and imagine the sound of waves and wind. Without the ships the halls lose their purpose – they were created for the ships and form a symbiosis with them. We therefore choose to respect this as a continuing saga, where the ships and their halls no longer can be seen as fragmented or detached heritage, and let the ships remain in the building as they stand, where they belong.

Our proposal is bold, yet gentle. It is simple, yet complex. It is highly symbolic and it will continue to display our mentality as a nation with pride. We give the place a new subtle historical layer by embracing the existing with a circle. The circle is one of the strongest symbols we have. It is also one of the most beautiful forms that exist, and gives us a sense of reverence and respect. But our circle is just a circle in plan. It is in fact a spiral, a snake with a beginning and an end. Where the head meets the tail, the spiral has disappeared under the earth, to symbolize the uncovering of the secrets from the past.



The experience as a visitor:

Once you arrive along the Langvik road or the Huk avenue, Arneberg’s buildings will meet you and appear unchanged, while you notice a gently rising shape to the east, encirlcling the existing building, and a new entrance that stretches out and invites you in, towards the south. The tourist busses stop in front of the building to the southeast, while those arriving by car pass the museum and park in the park to the northwest.

The sheltered entrance invites you in from both sides. The contemporary facade in carbonized wood, which guide you to the entrance, also functions as an invitation and a hint of whats to come when you enter. The abstract translations of the Viking Age woodden patterns enhances the expectations.

In the lobby you are met by the reception and you are introduced to the museum shop to the right, which extends into the existing building. There is also a possibility of a separate access to the shop via the old main entrance, when the museum is closed. From the lobby you get clear views of the original building, which proudly displays its facade to the visitors.


VAM_section A

After you have bought your ticket, you are led further into the vestibule, where you pass the café and outdoor serving area, more quietly placed towards the west, with sun from 10 am and throughout the day til closing time. At your right, side the main staircase follow the terrain down to the lower floor and hints towards the journey to come.

From the vestibule you enter the exhibition and its Icon trail. The curved shape of the new extention makes the exhibited objects to gradually emerge and pull you deeper, and after a while gradually downwards. The gable of the wings of the existing building are removed, and the different ships in their halls are revealed. You flow freely from the existing to the new. At the center of the existing building, there´s made a hole in the floor and you can observe the basement level, where archeologists and conservationists are treating the different items in the museum collection.


VAM_section C

As you continue your journey through the exhibition, you notice that the new exhibition space is slightly descending downwards. Along the way you pass the different thematic exhibitions along the outside wall with the specialized topics in the icon trail, related to the bigger items displayed in between.

As you move along, at each gable of the existing building you can choose to view the ships in their halls, or descend to the basement level where you will find the labs, different workshops / paint area or the other archeological / conservational facilites. Eventually you come down to the basement level, where you end the exhibition trail with the activity area, as the daylight reappears and you look out towards the park to the north. Here you will once again find the stairs you passed in the vestibule at the beginning of your visit, that brings you back up again to the café. At this point you can also reach the privatized outdoor exchibition areas between the new extension and the existing building. After you’ve been to the cafe for a while you can take the walk up the stairs to the roof of the building. Here you can wander slowly down again while watching the scenery and the original Arnstein Arneberg building, while getting glimpses of the Viking ships through the windows in the gables.



Experience as an employee:

As an employee you park at the northwestern parking, and enter the museum complex underneath the new extension into the basement level at the north wing of the existing building. You can also choose to use any of the other public entrances. At the basement level there are various rooms for item handling / processing and office facilities. The floor to ceiling height is approx 2.8 meters. The existing non-loadbearing internal walls are demolished, and new glass solutions inserted, to enhance the daylight qualities in the basement as a whole. The floors are reconstructed with contemporary technical solutions like culvert ventilation and new moisture barriers integrated into the design.


Both goods and archeological items are transported to the goods reception at the basement level in the new extension, towards the northwest. The large items can either be transported directly into the item handling facilities, directly into the exhibition itself, or taken into the basement level for further processing. The café and museum shop can receive goods directly from the main entrance if necessary.


VAM_section D

Exhibition Concept:

The Icon trail is a spiral around the existing building. Along the outer edge of the circle, towards the more closed public facade, are exhibition spaces for the themes of the icon trail. These can vary in size and transparency and include closed spaces for film projection or open forms of communication. The curvature of the building has the great benefit that the visitors are constantly being introduced to the new topics of the exhibition as they walk along. Along the icon trail the existing building with its vaults are functioning as large showcases and cul-de-sacs of the icon trail. The icon trail ends with the flexible exhibition space and activity / auditorium spaces for school children and other groups visiting for special events. Here you can also have ineraction with the museum as a workplace and would be the starting point for guided tours of the workspaces. This part of the museum has a separate entrance, and can thus be isolated from the museum at special occasions. The exibition concept has great flexibility, when it comes to changing the content and focus. All the ships are reached directly from the icon trail, still in their original halls, accessible through the openings they once entered the building. Where the existing building meets the new extention, there are interaction points between the workplace and the visitors, as dedicated activity zones.


VAM_section B


It is the architecture itself that showcases the sustainability of the project. The architectural qualities of a clearly defined concept. The symbolism, the spatial experiences, the respect for the existing and the multifunctionality and interaction with the existing building and its cultural treasures. How the museum complex is in dialogue with the landscape and safeguards its characteristic qualities.

The museum complex forms a durable and solid piece of architecture that will become part of our history, such as the Viking era is part of our history. In addition, the use of durable materials provide the building with a lon lasting durable patina. Covers and floors are concrete with large heat storage capacity. Together with the green roof that provides good attenuation of rainwater, The construction creates a very stable and predictable indoor climate.

The museum complex has a very rational form and effective public flows, easily susceptible to changes without loosing its conceptual strength. Such a rational building, with a high degree of reuse of existing spaces and shared multifunctional spaces, ends up with a very good gross / net factor. This has in its turn a very positive impact on the CO2 footprint.

University Island – Poveglia

» The greatest secret about history is that it can change. History doesn’t just go backwards, it goes forwards too. All things that’s going to happen is just history waiting to be written. It’s how we write it that’s going to make a difference. To change history requires reconciliation with the past and the will to make innovation that rethink future. To reconcile with the island’s past history means it has to be highlighted and not ignored.«

P_main perspective

The competition proposal was done as a collaborative work of the Architects Collective EX3 at Hydrogenfabrikken, Fredrikstad, which consists of ZIS AS / ZeroImpactStrategies, Handegård Arkitektur AS and VizStudio Espen Tomren (3D visualizations). We are happy to announce that we were chosen as 1 of 30 finalists in the competition. For more info on the competition, go to the YAC website.

We keep the existing buildings as memorials of Poveglias history. They will be architectural reminiscences and contribute to demystification along with several other necessary measures; One should open up and tell the stories. Offer excursions and guided tours to the island. Tell the stories, both the ancient and the coming. One should also arrange an annual ceremony to honor and respect the victims of ancient Poveglia. It is only in such a way we gradually will be able to reconcile with Poveglias past.


In our western world, architecture has gotten it’s independent position as a contrast to nature. In other parts of the world, architecture and nature is considered as a whole. Where nature is treated as a natural substance and architecture will abide by this, and not vice versa. They found a new equilibrium where humans lived in close contact with nature. This was an ideal, and out of this arose the idea of placing buildings that were subordinate to the natural surroundings.

In Poveglia nature has recaptured the island and the architecture. We have the opportunity to use this as a unique situation to write a new story about Poveglia. We can respect nature. Adapt to it. Ask the island where we are allowed to build – and do it on its own terms. In Poveglia we can achieve a natural development between nature, architecture and people that we have few other places in the western world – a unique charachteristic place. A way of rethinking the future that can change history.

To reduce the buildings’ size and adapt to site, the primary functions are divided into independent volumes, scattered around the island, where Poveglia allows us to build. To reach the different pavillions you must go outside into the nature and walk. From a classroom to the café or from a studio appartment to the library you will always have to move outdoors in nature.

The feeling walking through new Poveglia is like being in a fairytale – where nature and architecture is combined and the mystic past still present just behind the ruins or beneath the surface.


A new pier is added in the south, where the existing pier is located, for better connection to the island for tourists and students with the ACTV transport service.

When you arrive at Poveglia, you will meet a pergola roof that floats alongside and through the existing walls, and runs through the whole campus from south to north. From this line of movement there are connection points to all walkways between buildings. The roof connects the most important facilities – the auditorium, the administration, the canteen, a café.

It also connects to the sports facilities with covered outdoor training facilites towards the canal, between the landing stage / boat house and the ruins reused for changing rooms.

On the northern island there are located various leisure and recreational facilities like tennis, petanque courts, fencing, archery, high jump etc. In these parts of the island nature is trimmed, so it becomes more open. The main path leads out to a new beach with volleyball pitch at the nothernmost shore.


The existing buildings are used for offices, including the ruins beside the bell tower, which are also rehabilitated for this purpose. The other ruins are kept as architectural reminisences. They are used as temporary pavillions for exhibitions.

All new spaces like the library / reading / multipurpose facilities, classrooms and appartments are being built as circular units, customized to the surroundings. They have a skin of slats that serve different kind of needs: varying transparency; visibility, views, shading etc.

The whole campus is a mixed use campus, where classrooms, service facilites, recreational facilities and housing create a unique and completely new character for the university.

The dispersion of buildings as smaller individual entities are also the only viable way of creating a larger development without coming into conflict with the scale of the existing buildings and ruins. The unique nature / architecture blend could also only be created through the downplayed approach of the proposal.


To facilitate events for everyone on the Island, an indoors venue would blow the scale of the existing structures of the island. Therefore we have suggested an outdoor amphi to be used for the largest events – graduation, start of semester, etc. A stretched roof of sails can temporarily cover the amphi, if needed, bridging the pergola roof that encircle the amphi edge. The graduates enter by boat onto the stage in a tidal water basin, while the spectators enter from above by the new bridges linking the octogon and the main island.

P_Drone 4

P_snitt octogon

The existing buildings are just slightly altered, introducing new elements to the old constructions as contrasting elements. The exisiting / former stairwells are reintroduced, and a new partitioning of the spaces are suggested in harmony with the existing.

P_plan octogon

P_Drone 6

The existing ruins are internally rehabilitated and used as outdoor and semicovered exhibition spaces. Inserted inbetween the walls are new multipurpose spaces that serve the outdoor spaces and widens the flexibility of the structures. The ruins towards the canal to the north on the main island are reused for sports facilities and a café / restaurant. The church and smaller unregistered reminiscent buildings are also reactivated for exhibition use.

P_Drone 5

P_snitt multiuse

The library, reading spaces and multipurpose spaces are combined into several smaller entities, instead of one larger facility, to keep the scale down. The positive effect is that the intimacy is kept in each building, at the same time as they can be found on several locations on the island, randomly dispersed.

P_plan multiuse

P_Drone 1

The classrooms are two-storey buildings with one classroom on each storey. They include wardrobe and toilet facilities, and are structured as flexible spaces without partitions. 1st floor and the roof is accessible from the outside from a flight of stairs. There are 10 classroom pavillions, each consisting of 2 classrooms of approx. 200 m2 (i.e. for 100 persons), evenly dispersed throughout the whole campus.

P_Drone 3

P_snitt classroom dorm

The residences (dormitories) are placed in clusters of up to 5 units, each unit consisting of 4 dorms of 15 m2, ministudios for two people of 30m2 or appartments for 4 people of 60 m2. There are 10 clusters of 5 units, thereby facilitating 200 inhabitants. There´s created an intimate student community, since each cluster facilitates for approx. 20 people only, with a central common garden and private roof terrasses.

P_plan classroom dorm

P_Drone 2

Sola Town Hall

» The Sola Town Hall is located as an independent and formally strong structure, with the city park and pedestrian urban carpet flowing through it. The building exudes a solid architecture, an architecture that provides a sense of security and credibility. An open and transparent facade towards the square and the park invites people into the building, to participate and influence. An architecture that contributes to confidence and security – a place you come for advice. «


The competition proposal was done as a collaborative work of the Architects Collective EX3 at Hydrogenfabrikken, Fredrikstad, which consists of ZIS AS / ZeroImpactStrategies, Handegård Arkitektur AS and VizStudio (3D visualizations).


To contrast with the existing and planned structures in midtown Sola – and to build its own character – the new Sola Town Hall keeps low and hovers slimly above the park and urban landscapes, letting people flow freely through and under the complex.


The two parallel public spaces, the park and the urban carpet, are given a change in their rythm when the Sola Town Hall breaks up the space – the town hall square will have the new proposed church as a fond motif and as an end point of the undulating carpet, from which both the town hall recessed ground floor as well as the church and the new highrise to the south grows. The roof landscape is green and ties the complex to the park.


The courtyard, with entrances to the different health services and the outdoor serving areas of the cantine, also maximizes natural light for the offices in the upper stories. The slim slabs of the offices make pleasant sheltered spaces for bicycle parking and entrance points underneath.


The main entrance is a double height space in dialogue with both the courtyard and the square, and includes all the main reception functionality, while the more specialized services like health care, PPT etc are given more discrete separate entrances, linked to the public park and courtyard at the lower level.




The main entrance is the meeting point for all public / administrative contact, with easy access to the town hall assembly directly above the entrace. The town hall assembly has its own balcony towards the square for the bigger celebrations – for instance 17th of may speeches. The politicians wing is directly connected to the town hall assembly as well, in contact with both the courtyard and the street.


New Mosque in Reykjavík

The Mosque finds its inspiration from the icelandic landscape – gently rising from the surrounding park landscape – with a protective perimeter wrapping resembling the fault line walls which have played a vital role resonating democracy and justice at Þingvellir. The Mosque visibly interacts with the park, with its green roof and the contemplative garden. Natural light is guiding your way through the Mosque and towards prayer.


The competition proposal was made in collaboration with SAAHA, and the external visualizations done by VizStudio.


The perimeter wrapping creates a tranquil place for worship and contemplation at one of the most trafficated intersection in Reykjavik – and opens up and exposes the Mosques activities towards the outside through its variations. The homogenous wrapping is only broken to enter the building – a portal inspired by the stuðlaberg formations as well as the ancient geometric vaults of traditional Mosques. Using a traditional arabic pattern to clothe and decorate the building is inspired by the traditional icelandic patterns of the lopapeysa, also worn to protect the individual in the cold and harsh climate.

MRVK_plan 1

MRVK_plan U

MRVK_plan 2

You enter the generous lobby combined with shoe and cloak storage, which connects everything within the Mosque: Down the stairs to ablution and the prayer hall, up to the office, library and classroom, and directly to the kitchen and auditorium. From the lobby you also have access to the contemplative garden and the room for ritual washing of the deceased. The prayer hall is a wide space promoting equality when facing Mecca in prayer, inspired by the traditional non-directional spaces of the polystyle Mosques. The prayer hall interacts with the common areas through its translucent metal screens and further into the ablution through translucent glass.


The auditorium can open up as a gallery for the prayer hall, and thus function as additional prayer space when needed. The kitchen is ideally positioned to facilitate activites both in the auditorium and the lobby, with easy access to the other floors through the elevator. The ritual washing of the deceased is given a more tranquil position towards the garden and given access to the outside through this. The office on the 1st floor has direct visibility to the entrance, and the library and classroom is an open landscape of bookshelves creating individual places in-between for discussion and in depth study. The classroom is enclosed with glass to roof above the shelves, while the hole zone can be darkened by vertical blinds.



The contemplative garden contains the traditional elements of a muslim garden triggering all senses – running water, beauty through biodiversity inspired by both icelandic and foreign flora, and harvest. The material palette of the Mosque is contemporary and following the tradition of expressive concrete sacral buildings like the Hallgrimskirkja – prefabricated concrete and ultra-high performance concrete screens, structural glazing towards the garden. The quibla wall is of a honeycomb glazed tile, where shadows play in the light, the mihrab and the minbar rising from the ground in polished basalt.



Single family house, Santiago de Chile

«From the street, the house hides … at our feet, appears a large gazebo, an extension, a platform that extends endlessly towards the horizon, capturing the great view of Santiago and its great range … inside it opens a space, a large patio of light that receives us to make the vast horizon permanent.»

The proposal was made in collaboration with Chilean architect Anton A. Riadi.


We are situated between two major geographical features that identify the city of Santiago de Chile – the Andes and the Manquehue hill.

The Z HOUSE is placed as a mediator between these two major geographies, to the south-east the Andes Mountains and to the south-west the Manquehue hill. The house is hidden, creating a balcony on the slope which always keeps the city as a vast panoramic view.



To the south a large patio of light opens up with a pool which accentuates the horizon, creating an instance of permanence and relaxation. The house is located strategically to open all its views to the south and allow natural light to have enclosures during the course of the day.

ESC_snitt 1_f


ESC_snitt 2_f

The house extends to the horizon and elevates itself in the form of a Z, generating a division of four major instances.

  1. The main entrance courtyard leads down to the submerged house, from the street to the entrance hall, where we see a large volume that is detached from the body of the house creating a sense of freedom towards the city.
  1. The terrace is directly linked to the main hall, service area, guest area, dining room, library and living room. In this way the living spaces have an immediate connection with the large yard of light and the openness of the house is evident.
  1. The green courtyard is under the slope of the site. Above it is the volume of the master bedroom which follows from the general body of the house. Thus the master bedroom abalcona creating a total perspective into the courtyard, the city and the Andes Mountains. The bedrooms, office and hometheater for the children, are directly linked to the green courtyard, linked directly to the slope.
  1. The parking yard fulfills the function to separate the street from the building, creating a more intimate vehicular access for residents into the house. The service area is directly linked to the yard parking.

ESC_plan 1_f

ESC_plan 2_f

Ferry terminal and shelter on Viðey

«A precise and rough shape hides a softer inviting core when it is split in two, and when the two parts are placed on each side of the Videyjar sound, the perception of unity and familiarity is maintained across the waters»

The proposal was awarded 2.prize in the competition.


CONCEPT // A precise and rough shape, which hides a softer inviting core when it is split in two. A surprising contrast between the rough natural exterior and the refined elaborated interior. The two parts (the boat house and the waiting shed) remains connected, and are perceived as a two parts of one entity, perceptibly unifiable and visually recognisable. By making a tilted cut in the precise shape you solve functionally both a covered outdoor area of the boat shed at Skarfabakka and a better entrenching of the waiting shed into the terrain out at Videy. The diagonal cut opens up videly and invites in both the passengers arriving by boat and the pedestrians coming to the boathouse to depart. Another benefit is the good overview achieved for the employees / boatdrivers, both towards land and sea. The glass surface between inside and outside becomes an interactive medium to communicate the day to day activities and history of Videy, as well as it can change to accomodate special events with other information needs. It would also be easily adaptable for educational uses.


BOAT HOUSE // An organic line separates the closed spaces (toilets / storage / house technics) which doesn´t need natural light from the open ones (rest room employees / ticket sales / waiting area) which spaciously opens up towards the outdoor waiting area and the quay. For effective and flexible handling the ticket sales opens up both towards the outside and inside waiting areas. The soft organic lines of the interior makes horisontal breaks and displacement to create zones for sitting, benches and other interior solutions. The lighting concept underlines this horizontality. The waiting area is allways open to the public, while staff facilities and ticket sales are open periodically during the day, adjustable to the needs of the staff. One employee may have the complete overview of both interior and exterior spaces, and can thereby govern the hole complex.


WAITING SHED // The waiting shed is entrenched into the landscape where the information signs currently stand. Water run-off from the landscape are led in pipes underneath the outdoor concrete floor in front of the shed. The benches in the shed are terraced to make a mini-amphi for students to be educated upon arrival / before departure from Videy. The glass wall between inside and outside functions as a multimedia wall with projections when used for education of school groups. The waiting area is allways open to the public, but possible to close completely off during harsh weather conditions.


CONSTRUCTION AND MATERIALS, INSIDE AND OUTSIDE // Insulated and / or uninsulated sandwich in situ concrete, with different surface textures. Sandblasted dark concrete with dark basalt round river rock aggregate – the surface is drawn closer to the experience of natural rock. Ground dark concrete along the tilted diagonal cuts – to enhance the feeling of a cut deliberate action and a processed expression.

Ground and polished white concrete with white aggregate in the interiors – soft moulded shapes to create a tactile and bright inviting interior. Integrated low heat water heating in the benches. Structural glazing spanning from floor to ceiling.


Better facilitation for visitors at Geysir

«Kongsstien» is made up of minimal conceptual strategies – lifting the ground somewhat here, placing something lightly on the ground over there – in such a way that the magic of the place is preserved and that future kings may come to visit, be fascinated and leave again, just a little bit wiser.«

The proposal was made in collaboration with Handegaard Arkitektur.


«Kongsstien» – coming as a stranger to a place of such awe, breathing and seething – at Geysir it really feels like you are closer to mother earth as a living, breathing entity, and that you are closer connected to her. To change a landscape like this demands respect, and the changes must reflect and subordinate itself to the existing – if not the Geysir area will loose the uniqueness of its connection to the inner earth. «Kongsstien» is made up of minimal conceptual strategies – lifting the ground somewhat here, placing something lightly on the ground over there – in such a way that the magic of the place is preserved and that future kings may come to visit, be fascinated and leave again, just a little bit wiser.


UNDERSTANDING OF PLACE // The Geysir area is today characterized by step-by-step development and no unifying impression that greets people. The extent of the conurbation is in the competition proposal defined by a new public bath on the western edge of the main parking, partially entrenched in the landscape. This gives a two-sided access and thereby better use of the main parking lot. The entrance to the parking lots are placed as early as possible, both to the east and west. This enhances the public flows securitywise, and leaves a minimum of vehicular traffic at the crossing points at Geysistofa. The two main entrances to the geothermal area defines a shared space, where vehicular traffic and pedestrians are mingled.


The deserted farm Laug can be redeveloped for tourist rental with a strong focus on environmentally friendly tourism as a self-sufficient summer cottage complex. This would be a perfect advertising board for similar deserted farms in more spectacular secluded locations, self sufficient in the same way. The fence surrounding the geothermal area is repositioned to the west, when the shortcut from the camping site is integrated into the pedestrian system of the geothermal area. The fence is also repositioned so that you can reach the top of the Laugarfell mountain still within the perimeters of the geothermal area. Ticket sales are handled either in the service centre or through ticket machines on the southern side of the road close to the parking lots, thus preventing large concentrations of people out in the road. Automated entrance control with ticket scanning further facilitates quick access to the geothermal area on the northern sid of the road. The ticket system will be adapted to the national strategies for payment at tourist sites in the Icelandic landscape – i e the «naturpass».


ENTRANCE TO THE AREA // From the big parking lots you move as a pedestrian unhindered along the service centre, whether you come from the west or the east you can choose either between the existing or the new entrance. Two «surfaces» come down from the geothermal area and invite you in, made from cor-ten steel plates embodied in the asphalt. They split to individual lines as pedestrian crossing and continues into the geothermal area as one continuous plate. The new crossings defines a quieter zone where toueist busses has their drop-off zones and vehicular traffic in general is kept on the pedestrians terms. A continuous pedestrian zone binds the two crossings and the entrance to the service center together, as well as the materiality of the shared space is changed to slow speed and indicate that the pedestrians are prioritised.


FLOWS WITHIN THE GEOTHERMAL AREA // Within the geothermal area is established a new ring road, and by positioning the new pathway on the northern side of Thykkvihverir you get a better overview of all the smaller pots here. In addition the new pathway gives access to the hotter springs which you can´t reach today. The ring road is water heated and ice-free, and makes a relief to the ground made of sandblasted concrete, with aggregate of the same colour as the on-site sand and gravel. A secondary crossing path is executed as a cor-ten steel rib structure also water heated by the flexible pipes which binds the ribs together – these ribs functions as an ice-free carpet laid out over the wet areas and let the overflowing water run through while you pass over dry. The paths to view-points, Laugarfell top and the Kings rocks are visually enhanced with abstract cor-ten «rocks» as guiding rocks as markers.


ELEMENTS // The ring road: surface relief in sandblasted concrete with cor-ten steel edge as guide line. / Secondary crossing: «carpet» og cor-ten steel rib structure./ Sightseeing platforms: Cor-ten steel plates with slits marking directions to springs / Bridges: Cor-ten steel plates covering small streams where they cross the ring road./ Main sign: Bigger cor-ten steel plate vertically extended from the edge with area description. / Signs: Tilted signs made of cor-ten steel plates, attached to the edge. / Bench: Cor-ten steel edge extended and bent to facilitate sitting with a / Guiding rocks, embodied: embodied cor-ten plates with edge illumination / Guiding rocks, free standing: Cor-ten abstract rocks along secondary paths / Fence towards the road: The Cor-ten edge is extended to form pillars for steel mesh.


The new ring road forms a new loop which circumferes the hot spring Blesi. All elements attaches themselves to this new main loop – the sightseeing platforms are bent out from the edge, the benches and signs are extended and bent from the edge, the guiding rocks are embodied into the road surface or placed onto the terrain guiding along the secondary paths. The crossing south of Strokkur is also a highly visible secondary path, which functionally lets the water run through and under it. The pathways to Konungshver / viewpoint / Konungssteinar / Háihver / Laugarfell are less used and the free-standing rocks are enough to guide the visitors through the landscape and prevent damage to the terrain.


MATERIALITY // Few, but robust lasting materials, are chosen to blend into the surroundings and avoid greater visual impact. «Gravel roads» made from sandblasted in-situ concrete, with aggregate of locally collected materials to further blend into the landscape. The ring road is percieved as a relief to the slightly undulating landscape. Water pipes run through the pathways, thus preventing ice and slippery conditions for unprepared visitors. Cor-ten steel as contrast material makes up the edges / wetland paths / sightseeing platforms / signs / benches and guiding rocks. Flexible water pipes are also used as the structural element for the cor-ten steel ribs of the wetland pathways, and underneath the sightseeing platforms. Fluorescent painted text and lines / QR-codes as visual contrast for signage and presentations.


COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION STRATEGY // To avoid many large signs with plenty of text scattered around the area, it is suggested to place one main sign at the entrance / exit points which explains more thoroughly the geology and history of the geothermal area with written text. At every point of interest there are instead placed name-signs with an additional unique QR-code that takes you to a web-site with more specific information about each hot spring. Such an interactive digital solution is also more suitable to use educationally, where for instance school classes can use the web-site both for preparation and post visit assignments and information gathering. The QR-codes are painted on transparent plastic plates, embodied into the cor-ten metal signs, so that they are changeable if needed.