International Architecture Competition

Iceland
Northern Lights
Rooms

Results

Foreword

Iceland has a landscape like no other place on earth. An arctic desert with active volcanoes and hot springs, one can also find mountains, lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, fjords, and a rich trove of unique flora and fauna adapted to extreme cold and wind. Equally complex, Iceland’s sky brings travelers from around the world to view the stars free of city lights, and to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis - these northern lights caused by solar winds fill the night sky with varying shades of green, red, and blue, creating forms that change constantly in shade and shape.

This competition tasked participants with envisioning a concept for a guest house, where visitors can privately observe and directly engage with this unusual geographic setting. The chosen location adjacent to Mývatn lake, is a site of 9 hectares in the northeast region of Iceland. Near to the Krafla volcano and thermal pools, the lake was created by a basaltic lava eruption 2300 years ago; it is surrounded by wetlands that are also nesting ground for waterbirds, an important natural space monitored by the Mývatn Research Station since 1975.

Competition participants were asked to deliver design proposals for accommodations to house permanent hosts and up to 20 temporary guests. Submissions were asked to include host facilities in addition to a series of simply-designed single and double transportable guest room modules, with the capacity to sleep up to four, and a skylight through which to view the northern lights at night. In order to be relocated on site, these guest rooms are to moveable, without permanent foundations. Due to the delicate nature of the region no permanent construction is to take place within 200 metres of the lake. The brief also requested the inclusion of spaces to house a dining area, facilities to serve all users simultaneously, additional common spaces for group use, and a barn for 10 Icelandic horses which live outdoors year-round.

The jury was impressed by the quality and number of submissions. As with all Bee Breeders’ competitions, innovative proposals with thought-provoking design ideas were viewed favorably. Each of the winning proposals is lauded in particular for experimentation with a specific material, for its distinct interaction with the site and sky, for achieving a design that could be scalable, and for providing cost-effective solutions and construction methods in consideration of the extreme and natural environment. Bee Breeders would like to thank each participant for their participation.

Competition NEWS

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1ST PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

In-Visible Poland

Project authors

Kamila Szatanowska
Paulina Rogalska

jury commentary

‘In-Visible’ features a series of mirror-clad guest houses of varying sizes, movable and distributed about the site, and when lit at night perform like glowing lanterns. A peat-covered main house is comprised of common spaces and host bedrooms, with a central entry protected from the weather and accessed from below. In a series of impressive images and drawings, the submission illustrates well, via scale and materiality, the design’s care to minimize site disturbance. The jury found this submission to be buildable, innovative and well-suited for its location. The jury encourages the designer to further study the interior experience of and structural solution for the guest house modules: What is it like to observe the skies privately from one’s bed? Are there alternative structural solutions to the anchoring cables?

NEWSLETTER

ARCHITECTURE COMPETITIONS
AND AWARDS

2ND PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Bleikur Belgium

Project authors

Francois Bodlet

jury commentary

A visitor to Iceland might notice the typical corrugated metal panels that clad many homes in Reykjavik and other towns. According to Dennis Jóhannesson’s A Guide to Icelandic Architecture, this style evolved during the early 20th century, as iron was imported from England, and as timber housing was banned following a series of fires in Reykjavik. This submission adapts this regional cladding type and proposes a series of sail-shaped buildings made of metal and plywood. The drawings are striking and convincing. Here, the metallic cladding is silver-pink, a finish which changes according to weather patterns and sky color. The submission offers realistic cost and feasibility projections, complete with an energy system proposal. The curved forms of the buildings offer interesting interior and exterior spaces for viewing the landscape and skies.

3RD PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Northern Lights Spain

Project authors

Catarina Oom de Sousa
Carla Romagosa Girós
Eftalia Proios Torras

jury commentary

The jury was impressed by the effectiveness of the guesthouse design in this proposal. The project description reads: “All modules contain an optimized central nucleus where the facilities and private spaces are enclosed, allowing the circulation spaces to open towards the landscape.” Set within a cube of transparent ETFE pillow membranes, a compact core is surrounded by an open space. The energy-efficient advantages of ETFE compared to glass include lightness, thermal insulation, and surfaces that are self-cleaning. The result here is a beautifully-designed, semi-private space that proved unlike any other proposal put forth. Given the high winds in the Icelandic environment, however, can such a light structure as proposed be feasibly attained?

BB STUDENT AWARD

Project Name

Marimo Poland

University

Politechnika śląska

Project authors

Magdalena Pająk
BB GREEN AWARD

Project Name

Of crater and hearth United States

Project authors

Chang Yuan Max Hsu
Hadeel Ayed Mohammad

Honorable mentions

Project Name

Nous Italy

Company

Nousfera lab

Project authors

Daniele Conticchio
Aurora Del Sette
Beatrice Bella
Vincenzo Copogna

Project Name

Enlightened Lightrooms Kazakhstan

Project authors

Madina Zhazylbekova

Project Name

Northern Lights Rooms Romania

Project authors

Maria-Alexandra Antal
Greta Samiș
Andra Samiș

Project Name

Northern Lighthouse Japan

Project authors

Tyler Mcbeth
Veronika Smetanina
Benjamin Dossett

Project Name

Human Space Denmark

Project authors

Giovanni Simioni
Maximilian Rietschel
Lewis Williams
Damiano Toffanin

Project Name

Rolling Stones Hungary

Company

Olla architect studio

Project authors

Norbert Pánovits
Orsolya Méhes
Zsuzsanna Köninger-Péter
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