Go with the flow – Icelandic volcano visitors centre.

This project is a land-art installation, barely emerging from the landscape, creating a point of transition between the imposing
height and mass of the volcano towards the South-East, and the
endless horizontality of the landscape towards the lakes to the
North.

Its sculptural approach is proposing a dramatization of the visitor’s
experience, passing through scenographic features: Tense spaces carved into the site’s hard and dark rocks, lighting design and dramatic use of targeted framed view.

The visitors will start on their journey to climb the volcano, walking between the dark polished stone ‘canyon’s’ wall and the
building’s external subterranean exhibition gallery wall. At the
end, they will start their ascension through the dramatic deep cut,
in the rocks, offering a vertical cross section view of the full height
of the volcano.

On their way down they will land in the warm timber interior of the visitors centre, enjoying the full view of the landscape towards
the lakes through the infinity horizontal window.

Every element of the design is either directly extracted from the site or manufactured off site and sized on a maximum 2.4m module to suit standard sized road transports for efficient on site dry assembly.
There is a great potential for community involvement as all elements should be designed off site for ease of on site assembly, with minimal tools or site plant and aiming for zero site waste.
The overall design principles follow a ‘no trace’ approach and the whole building could be dismounted, its components recycled and the area back filled, leaving minimal residual impact on the site.
The design exclusively uses highly thermally performing building components and follows passive design principles of fabric first.
We anticipate the services strategy will make the best use of local opportunities such as geothermal systems to further minimise its environmental footprint.

Ground Floor
A wide entrance stair and lobby is the first space on the ground floor. This is a multi purpose flexible space
and can be used for events, teaching sessions and presentations as the staircase doubles up as a raked seating area. On entering the building the visitor is directed towards an exhibition wall that runs along the majority of the length of the building. This provides a gallery space that is designed to be viewed from inside or outside of the building. This allows the exhibitions to be viewed even when the centre is not open.
Two deeper areas are also provided for larger installations and provide access to the ancillary functions of the
centre. Female, Male and Accessible toilets are located behind the gallery wall along with a storage area and
office space. A lift provides an accessible route to the first floor.

At the far end of the building is a second smaller staircase that is aligned with the path up the volcano. Glazing wraps around the staircase providing a framed view of the volcano, the sky and the start of the panoramic
window towards the lake. This area is a key nexus of the building providing a moment to appreciate the landscape the building sits within.

First Floor
The first floor is given over entirely to the Café, with a supporting kitchen and service counter. The space can
be subdivided to allow multiple events to occur concurrently. Benches are provided to allow visitors to rest
and take in the vistas towards the lake.

Linear Landscape – The façade that presents itself to the wider landscape is minimal. The light spilling from the first floor cafe provides an illusion of the main volume floating on the landscape.

Every element of the design is either directly extracted from the site or manufactured off site and sized on a maximum 2.4m module to suit standard sized road transports for efficient on site dry assembly.
There is a great potential for community involvement as all elements should be designed off site for ease of on site assembly, with minimal tools or site plant and aiming for zero site waste.
The overall design principles follow a ‘no trace’ approach and the whole building could be dismounted, its components recycled and the area back filled, leaving minimal residual impact on the site.
The design exclusively uses highly thermally performing building components and follows passive design principles of fabric first.
We anticipate the services strategy will make the best use of local opportunities such as geothermal systems to further minimise its environmental footprint.