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Lookout Tower. Iceland lookout platform project with honorable mention!

07 of March '22

Iceland Volcano Lookout Point is another Bee Breedrs competition dedicated to Iceland's rugged landscape. This time the topic was to design a lookout point on the southern end of the Hverfjall volcano's crater. Zuzanna Mitera, Gabriela Pietras and Wiktoria Szaratkiewicz created Lookout Tower - an unusual viewing platform blended into the volcanic landscape. The project of the Polish students received an honorable mention!

The challenge of the international competition was to design a lookout point located at the southern end of the Hverfjall crater in northern Iceland. The area was formed by a volcanic eruption that created a crater one kilometer wide and about 140 meters deep. Hverfjall is a popular destination for hikers. Visitors can easily reach many parts of the crater via public hiking trails, whose ridges can reach up to 200 meters in height.

Participants in the competition were asked to design a viewing platform with a base of 10 meters by 10 meters placed on top of the crater, which will offer a view of Lake Mývatn and the Dimmuborgir lava fields.

Projekt Lookout Tower
na Islandii

The Lookout Tower project received an honorable mention

© Zuzanna Mitera, Gabriela Pietras, Wiktoria Szaratkiewicz

honorable mention for polish students

The competition entries were judged by a jury consisting of: Marshall Blecher (MAST), Greg Corso (SPORTS Collaborative), Jake Heffington (Diversify Architecture), Borghildur Indriðadóttir (artist), Kyle Schumann (After Architecture), Erik "Rick" Sommerfeld (ColoradoBuildingWorkshop). The jury awarded four grand prizes, six honorable mentions and announced shortlisted projects.

Thehonorable mention went to Lookout Tower, a project by Zuzanna Mitera and Wiktoria Szaratkiewicz from the Faculty of Architecture at Poznan University of Technology and Gabriela Pietras from the Faculty of Architecture at the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin. The project was created as part of the course Advanced Issues in Engineering, Technique, Technology in Design (Systems and BIM), taught by Dr. Krzysztof Bizio.

Projekt Lookout Tower
na Islandii, położenie rojekt Lookout Tower
na Islandii, elewacja

The observation tower is located on the rim of the Hverfjall crater

© Zuzanna Mitera, Gabriela Pietras, Wiktoria Szaratkiewicz

A combination of architecture and nature

The Icelandic land where our project is located is mainly associated with the charm of nature itself. In order to strengthen the bond between architecture and nature, we decided to blend the vantage point into the volcanic landscape by designing a structure based on natural resources such as gravel, abundant on the selected plot, the authors say.

The development site is located on top of the Hverfjall volcano, which dominates the surrounding area with its height. The concept of the students is to create a "steel-stone labyrinth", which is a kind of unusual viewing platform, whose structural walls are made of volcanic stones.

Diagram projektowy Diagram projektowy

The authors created a "steel-stone labyrinth"

© Zuzanna Mitera, Gabriela Pietras, Wiktoria Szaratkiewicz

"scenic labyrinth"

The authors created a kind of route with cropped views for the visitors of this desolate place. The created space has a narrative character, creating an overhead labyrinth, connecting two seemingly disparate places - the viewpoint located above ground level and the interior of the volcano deep underground.

The architecture suggests a visual path leading to the different floors. The gradient, gradually thinning with each successive floor, is intended to prompt visitors to move upward - just as when exiting a dark tunnel into the light, curious users are expected to find their way toward the impressions offered by the surrounding landscape, fully experienced on the top floor of the designed viewing platform, the designers explain.

Przekrój platformy widokowej

Each floor opens up a view of a different part of the landscape

© Zuzanna Mitera, Gabriela Pietras, Wiktoria Szaratkiewicz

volcanic stones as a building material

Instead of using a variety of building materials, the young architects decided on one - the walls were made of volcanic stones, differing only in size. Between them, gaps were created through which light enters and fragments of the landscape can be seen. The steel lattice, used for the construction of the storey, also allows observation of the surroundings thanks to its openwork form.

Projekt Lookout Tower

The walls were made of steel grating and volcanic stones

© Zuzanna Mitera, Gabriela Pietras, Wiktoria Szaratkiewicz

Each level of the platform opens to a different direction and focuses on a particular part of the landscape - sometimes straight ahead, and sometimes through an opening between the stones. In this way, through a seemingly simple, cubist design and limited choice of materials, the architectural form proves that minimalism like this can also be innovative, the authors conclude.

Also read about restaurant-glazing projects in Iceland: Samkomuhús by UAP students Agnieszka Grzemska, Jakub Wichtowski and Jan Zieliński, and Following the terrain by Katarzyna Drągowska and Eliza Lasek from Warsaw University of Technology.

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