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Café at the foot of an Icelandic volcano. International success of a student of the Silesian University of Technology!

11 of July '22

A student of architecture at the Silesian University of Technology, {tag:studenci}, designed a tourist center with a coffee shop located at the foot of the Hverfjall volcano in Iceland and received as many as two awards in the Iceland Volcano Coffee Shop international competition. The jury appreciated the proposal for the volcano eruption-inspired facility, awarding it Second Prize and the Archhive Student Award!

The challenge of the Iceland Volcano Coffee Shop international competition organized by Buildner in cooperation with the owners of the Vogar farmland was to design a coffee shop located at the foot of Iceland's Hverfjall volcano. The facility was to offer visitors a place to have a drink, relax, some information about the volcano's history and an exhibition space. The study area is located in the northern part of Iceland in the Mývatn region, considered the "aurora capital." Due to the uniqueness of the entire region, a very important aspect of the competition was also to adapt to the surrounding landscape.

Tajemnicza ścieżka prowadzi do budynku

A secret path leads to the building

© Kamil Bryłka

Poles at the forefront of the competition

The works submitted from all over the world were judged by a jury consisting of: Marshall Blecher (MAST), Borghildur Indriðadóttir (Icelandic artist), Filipe Rodrigue and Inês Vicente (Atelier Data), Sigrún Sumarliðadóttir (Studio Bua), Yu-Ying Tsai (ZJJZ Atelier) and Magic Kwan and Kenrick Wong (Orient Occident Atelier). They awarded First Prize to a project titled The Underhill Experience by Veronika Plata and Victor Stankiewicz.

Second Prize and the Archhive Student Award went to Kamil Bryłka for his project Volcano Visitors Center.

The proposal expands the relationship between the building and the site, demonstrating an excellent understanding of communication and quality of space. Since the surrounding skyline should be preserved as much as possible, the competition design requires a discreet approach. After the breathtaking landscape, visitors are met with an indoor, friendly, warm space. The author also did not forget about outdoor spaces - visitors follow lava-like paths leading to a building that resembles solid scale. This is a structural element, reminiscent of Richard Serra 's sculptural forms, the jury's opinion reads.

Third Prize was awarded to a team from Mexico consisting of Ángel Bolaños, Fernanda Díaz for the Vestige project, and the Catalyst project from France by Clément Molinier and Philipp Paumellen received the Aapparel Sustainability Award. The jury also awarded six honorable mentions.

Projekt Volcano Visitors Centre, schemat ideowy

The author was inspired by a volcanic eruption

© Kamil Bryłka

inspired by a volcanic eruption

Kamil Bryłka's main design idea, was to try to fit into the surrounding landscape, to create a design that refers in its form to the context of its surroundings - the volcano, the rocks and the ubiquitous volcanic tuff.

My idea was inspired by the eruption of the Hverfjall volcano, which took place 2,700 years ago. It was a phreatomagmatic eruption, whose main products are lava, steam and huge amounts of scattered rock material. The designed space in the form of paths dug into the ground, encased in corten steel is a reference to the lava flowing out of the volcano, and the designed object, built from the soil found in the study area, is a reference to the scattered rock material, the author explains.

Projekt Volcano Visitors Centre, schemat kształtowania obiektu

diagram of the object's formation

© Kamil Bryłka

object like rocks, paths like lava

Due to the very large area of the study, the young architect decided to create, outside the main object of the competition, urban space in the form of paths and small rest zones, referring to the lava flowing out of the volcano. The visitors center, on the other hand, was designed as a simple, geometric block, referring to the rocks, contrasting with the soft form of the paths.

Projekt Volcano Visitors Centre, rzut

Volcano Visitors Center project, projection

© Kamil Bryłka

The simple, geometric object is somehow pierced by an organic form, which is a continuation of the paths, forming a tunnel covered with corten steel, leading the user to the interior and being part of the way to the top of the volcano, Kamil Bryłka adds.

Wnętrze kawiarni z widokiem na wulkan

The interior of the cafe overlooking the volcano

© Kamil Bryłka

cafe with a view of the volcano

An important functional aspect of the project was the creation of an entrance area that serves as a central point of the building, providing quick access to all building functions. Immediately at the entrance in the southwestern part, a toilet area was placed. Opposite the toilets, also directly at the entrance zone, is an exhibition area.

Projekt Volcano Visitors Centre, konstrukcja

The building was made in a skeleton-concrete construction

© Kamil Bryłka

In the southeastern part of the building, a cafeteria along with an outdoor terrace is available for users. The author decided to completely glaze the southeast elevation, which, allowed for very good lighting of the interior of the cafe, as well as provides a magnificent view of the slope of the volcanic crater.

Kawiarnia na Islandii

The paths are reminiscent of Richard Serra's sculptural forms

© Kamil Bryłka

rammed earth walls

The center was designed with a frame and reinforced concrete structure and enclosed with exterior walls made of compacted earth, excavated during the creation of the paths and rest areas. The use of this type of material for the building, in addition to its functional advantages, makes the building melt into the surrounding landscape.

Read also about other projects in Iceland, including a museum by Lukasz Gaska, Marta Sowinska-G Gaska and Michal Gawron, an observation point designed by Aleksandra Bieszka, Aleksandra Mucha and Maria Pielach, or a restaurant by a team of students consisting of: Jakub Ciszewski, Mikołaj Chmiel, Tomasz Klepek, Oskar Mały.

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