containers among continents.

Iceland Cave Tower architectural competition.

The caves of Northern Iceland became popular tourist destinations thanks to natural thermal pools, breathtaking landscapes and sites made famous by the Game of Thrones series. In the latest Beebreeders architectural design competition, we designed a cave tower and a visitor center for Grjótagjá caves, just above the tectonic fault line passing here. Let’s enjoy the view between continents!

Location: Iceland
Architects, creators: Daniel Decsi, Endre Dér, András Zsuky
Year of planning: 2020
Floor plan area: 400 m2

A new competition has guided us to one of Iceland’s most exciting natural attractions, where managing increased tourism has become a major challenge. The fault line and the warm-water spring cave, lying on a private land, are visited in large numbers despite the bans, but tourists are not welcomed by any infrastructure other than a spontaneously placed parking lot and an information board. Owners of Vogar Farm have therefore sought the help of architects around the world to design a visitor’s route and a new lookout tower through an open design competition, to create the new symbol of the area.

After a great amount of inter-work sketches, in our final plans we envisioned cost-effective and sustainable houses: we constructed all three buildings of shipping containers, dividing and connecting them according to the required functions. The heating system works with geothermal energy to reduce the building’s ecological footprint.

With its height of 18 meters, the lookout tower can be seen from afar, while reception and spa buildings have been smoothed into the landscape. The reception building and the lookout are free for anyone, while our exclusive spa can be visited for an entrance fee.

The cave tower is made of four containers; we solved the foundation of the lowest, bridge-like container with a sliding connection so that the movement of tectonic plates would not cause a problem. We connected our container houses with a walkway made of modular, galvanized steel elements, clearly marking the visitor route with striking yellow paint, making it easily noticeable even in harsh weather.

According to our plans, an environmentally friendly visitor center can be built, that could become a must-see destination for both locals and tourists visiting Iceland.

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