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Icelandic refuge. Design of tourist facilities on the trail to the hot springs

20 of September '22

A {tag:studenci} from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk designed four tourist shelters along a route running along Iceland's Reykjadalur valley known for its hot springs and beautiful nature. The pyramid-shaped structures, made of Accoya wood, allow for rest, accommodation, as well as food preparation.

The presented project was created in the Interior Design II studio under the direction of Prof. Remigiusz Grochal and Beniamin Straszewski at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk. The goal of the assignment was to arrange the route of the trail to the hot springs in the Reykjadalur valley in Iceland, inscribing its shape into the existing terrain and creating a shelter for hikers.

animation showing the Icelandic shelter project

© Weronika Mach

hot springs trail

The Reykjadalur Valley is located about 45 kilometers southeast of Reykjavik near the village of Hveragerði. It is one of the most accessible places in Iceland to take relaxing baths in natural hot springs. The river trail has a moderate level of difficulty, which adds to the fact that it is one of the most visited hiking trails in the country. The hike takes you through fantastic Icelandic nature with lots of different colors and magnificent views. One section of the trail includes the amazing Djúpagilsfoss waterfall. The route is about eight kilometers long. The existing infrastructure is limited to wooden platforms with shelters that serve as changing rooms. Such solutions were used to protect nature from possible damage due to the large migration of people visiting the valley, says Veronika Mach.

Wnętrze islandzkiego schronienia

The Icelandic shelter allows for rest, accommodation and food preparation

© Weronika Mach

temporary shelter

The facility, designed by an ASP student, has been adapted for a temporary stay. It serves as a stopover during the hike - allowing for meal preparation, overnight stay and toilet facilities. The author placed four facilities along the route of the Valley of Steam, with a detailed study of the location at the Djúpagilsfoss waterfall. Her main design goal was to create a space that meets the needs of tourists hiking the trail. The proposed building is maintained in an austere style that blends in with the surrounding nature. The building's pyramidal form draws on the terrain - the slopes typical of valleys, which, considering the weather conditions here, ensures trouble-free drainage of water and snow.

Projekt Islandzkie schronienie, aksonometria

The author has also designed a wooden footbridge with changing rooms

© Weronika Mach

wooden footbridge

The author has also designed a wooden footbridge with changing rooms near the waterfall, which is accessible to everyone without using the main facility. In addition, the footbridge serves as a bridge connecting the refuge, located on the other side of the river, with the designed branch of the main trail. The form of the bridges refers to the existing infrastructure on the trail, so the coherence of the entire establishment has been maintained.

Wnętrze projektowanego schronienia

The shelter provides accommodation for four people

© Weronika Mach

a place for hikers

The shelter design is a block with a trapezoidal plan, providing accommodation for four people. The toilet and shower are located in its atrium. Thanks to this solution, the sanitary zones are accessible to everyone, without the need to enter the interior of the building. The utility section is separated from the entrance area by a fifteen-centimeter raised floor level. The higher level includes the sleeping and dining areas. A cast-iron stove with a hotplate makes it possible to cook meals.

Projekt Islandzkie schronienie, rzut parteru Projekt Islandzkie schronienie, rzut antresoli

ground and mezzanine floor plan of the shelter

© Weronika Mach

In addition, the dining area is complemented by a countertop including a sink and shelves (also for storing firewood), a table and two structures located symmetrically on both sides of the interior, separating four spaces for sleeping and a function for storage. There is also a mezzanine in the southern part of the building, which is complemented by a bookcase. As the author says, it is also a space where wanderers can leave a mark (engraving an inscription on the walls) or an object - a duck staircase leads to its level.

Wnętrze antresoli w schronieniu

On the mezzanine there is a bookcase and a place to leave a sign behind

© Weronika Mach

Accoya wood

The main material the author used in the project is Accoya wood, which is aesthetically pleasing, easy to maintain and, importantly, more durable even than tropical wood. With its combination of durability and natural beauty, the wood fits into the character of the designed space. The lump is complemented by large glazing routed in the axis of the building - providing adequate interior lighting and unforgettable views of the charming Smoky Valley area.


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