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Klaudia Płachetko - "Fagradalsfjall Volcano Museum in Iceland"

16 of February '24
Technical data
Type: engineering thesis
Year of defense: 2023

Klaudia Płachetko

Wydział Architektury Politechniki Warszawskiej
Prof. Jan Słyk

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture"

The subject of the study is the Fagradalsfjall Volcano Museum in Iceland with an associated outbuilding, along with basic elements of communication infrastructure. The museum is located on a private plot of land under natural heritage protection near the Fagradalsfjall hill in southwest Iceland.

plan zagospodarowania terenu

site plan

© Klaudia Płachetko

Having lived in Iceland for some time, the author noted the lack of adequate infrastructure at the newly established tourist attraction (the region's first modern eruption occurred in 2021). The museum, located at the intersection of two worlds, allows the user to prepare for an encounter with the elements. A section of the existing tourist path was chosen as the project's location, or more precisely, the place where it came into contact with the solidified lava, about 2 kilometers from the parking lot organized by local authorities at the time of the eruption.

rzut parteru

first floor plan

© Klaudia Płachetko

The primary goal of developing the project was to provide an appropriate place to experience the emotions that can accompany being in such an unusual landscape, to prepare the museum user for this unique moment by providing the appropriate "tools" educational tour paths. The facility was planned to formally blend with the surrounding landscape, interfering with it as minimally as possible, while reinforcing the character of the place to facilitate preparation for the encounter with the elements.

The goal was achieved through an in-depth analysis of the site. The site was set on an existing footpath, at its junction with the lava field. This maximized the use of the existing infrastructure (paths and parking lots) and took into account the emotional aspect of nature.



cross sections

© Klaudia Płachetko

The project makes use of the existing trails, interfering with them as little as possible, since their creation in 2021 and 2022 alone was already quite an impact on the landscape. The architecture of the site assumes the fulfillment of transportation functions for those who use the museum and those who leave it. The "A" trail was split 100 meters in front of the museum (from the side of the parking lot), so that by turning left, a tourist can head to the interior of the museum, and turn right to go higher  to the roof of the facility and from there to the other side, where the paths connect again.

The design focuses on the individuality of the experience provided by the limited flow of tourists. The facility allows one tour path to be used by one group of up to ten people. This gives the place a more intimate feel, and gives users space to express their emotions.

Muzeum Wulkanu Fagradalsfjall na Islandii

Fagradalsfjall volcano museum in Iceland

© Klaudia Płachetko

In addition to its primary exhibition and educational function, the facility provides space for rest and tranquility. Indeed, in the center of the layout, an inner courtyard with an oval shape was designed to put the user in a state of tranquility. Before entering the courtyard, visitors can relax in a dining room stocked with snack vending machines.



© Klaudia Płachetko

The building's structure was also designed with minimal environmental interference in mind. Key elements are prefabricated, made off-site. The steel skeletal structure and the lack of a traditional concrete foundation make it possible to dismantle the entire building when it ceases to serve its function, while leaving the existing landscape as intact as possible.

widoki z wnętrza muzeum

views from inside the museum

© Klaudia Płachetko

In addition to the primary function, the project introduced a separate outbuilding, not adjacent to the main body. The building marks the border of a small flat plaza allowing tourists to gather in front of the main entrance. In addition, through the protruding roof, it outlines a parking space suitable for people with disabilities.


Illustrations: © Author

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