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A pavilion for watching movies and the aurora borealis. A project from Poland on the short list for the competition!

19 of April '23

Young architect Jonasz Matuszczyk, a graduate of the Silesian University of Technology also participated in the international competition for a movie pavilion in Iceland. His Northern Lights Cinema project, inspired by the movement of tectonic plates and made of rammed earth, was shortlisted for the competition.

The Iceland Movie Pavilion competition, organized by the Bulidner platform in cooperation with the nearby Vogafjós guesthouse and farm, was looking for the best designs for a movie pavilion that could near the famous Grjótagjá geothermal caves in northern Iceland. The ideas were to represent the history of Icelandic cinema and its distinctive style, and to serve as a place to integrate film lovers. An additional function was to be a small cafe and gallery. The eco-friendly and energy-efficient building was to have an economical design, resistant to Icelandic climatic conditions.

Bryła budynku zainspirowana jest ruchem płyt tektonicznych

The lump of the building is inspired by the movement of tectonic plates

© Jonasz Matuszczyk

The competition awarded three grand prizes, honorable mentions and announced the shortlist. We wrote about the full jury and the awards as part of an article about the Grjótagjá Trail project, by a team of Warsaw University of Technology students consisting of: Maja Dziwok, Alexandra Dectot. Meanwhile, the shortlist for the competition included Antoni Soszynski's project Cracked Movie Pavilion from the Warsaw University of Technology and Northern Lights Cinema designed by young architect Jonasz Matuszczyk.

raw landscape

The concept for the pavilion was based on the surrounding landscape. It is made up of mostly open and empty spaces reaching all the way to the horizon with a few distinctive elements, such as the surrounding Grjótagjá caves and the extinct Hverfjall volcano. The entire area of Iceland is a stage for the forces of nature, which, through tectonic movement, change the surroundings and create places like those mentioned above. At night, on the other hand, it is the sky that becomes a place of spectacle and play of light through norðurljós—the aurora borealis , the architect explains.

Pawilon filmowy na Islandii, zagospodarowanie terenu Pawilon filmowy na Islandii, aksonometria

The pavilion is divided into two blocks

© Jonasz Matuszczyk

inspired by the movement of tectonic plates

The author "wrapped" the competition pavilion with walls made using rammed earth technology and a modular glulam roof structure. The raw shell materials are meant to refer to the surrounding geothermal caves. The gray color of the facade was achieved through the use of volcanic earth, and the warm interior colors were achieved through lighter earth.

Ściany zostały wykonane z ziemi ubijanej

The walls were made of rammed earth

© Jonasz Matuszczyk

Mimicking the movement of tectonic plates, the building's masses were inverted with respect to their own axes to optimally shape the interiors. The two main functions of the building—the cinema hall and the cafe were shifted relative to each other, and the architect also exposed the building's entrances located on opposite sides.

aurora borealis view

The resulting functional layout divides the building into a visitor zone and a pavilion service zone. The main entrance is located on the side of the caves and leads directly into the multifunctional cafe space, which serves as a meeting place and a possible gallery. At the same time, a glass entrance directs guests' gaze to the surrounding extinct volcano. Meanwhile, a second window located behind the open kitchen makes the Icelandic landscape the backdrop for the pavilion's interior. The functional block of the café was completed with storage and sanitary facilities.

Pawilon filmowy na Islandii, przekrój A-A

Iceland film pavilion, cross-section A-A

© Jonasz Matuszczyk

The center of the second part of the pavilion is a cinema room designed for fifty people, which takes full advantage of the shape of the block and the roof. Complementing this part of the building are office and technical rooms, as well as an additional building service entrance. The cinema hall is additionally equipped with a retractable membrane that isolates the space visually and acoustically for the duration of the film screening.

Wnętrze sali kinowej z otwieranym dachem

The interior of the cinema hall with an opening roof

© Jonasz Matuszczyk

Both the café and the cinema hall have an open roof. In this way, the pavilion becomes a multifunctional space for viewing both the human work in the form of films and the work of nature in the form of the aurora borealis, suspended high above, Jonasz Matuszczyk adds.

responsible design

A requirement of the competition was sustainable design, the use of eco-friendly, local and low-cost materials. Jonasz tried to respond to these requirements on many levels—including using the surrounding soil as the building blocks for the walls.

Pawilon filmowy na Islandii, detal przekroju

Iceland film pavilion, detail section

© Jonasz Matuszczyk

Meanwhile, the use of glulam in the form of a modular roof and plywood for the interior finishes facilitates transportation. The walls, which do not require additional finishing, have been reinforced with steel, which can be fully recycled. The author also used green energy sources—a heat pump and mechanical ventilation with recuperation.

Rammed earth walls were also used by Matthew Dziuba in his project At the end of Grjótagjá, for which he received an honorable mention in the Rammed Earth Pavilion competition.

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