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Iceland Cabins

Type. Architecture, Hospitality

Location. Lake Mývatn, Iceland
Date. 2018
Client. Competition

Status. Concept Design

Size. 17 - 28 sqm

Project Description.

Our cabins have been designed with the aim of providing a full immersion experience into the remote landscapes of the Mývatn Lake area. Our departure point has been to understand the weather patterns specifically the winds which can blow extremely hard and pose a real challenge to preserve the heat inside. As such after analyzing the dominant winds we have opted to minimize area exposure to the south, northwest and east.This provides the principle for the enclosure of the pod which is then opened west to the lake views and north through a skylight to aurora borealis.

We have designed three types of modules of different sizes but with the same spatial quality. A single room for one person where the space has been optimized to the last millimeter; a double bedroom with options for twin bed configuration and a double suite with a sofa bed able to accommodate four guests. All cabins feature a kitchenette, a sunset facing balcony with seating area and an en-suite bathroom with a skylight in the shower never to feel disconnected from nature.

In terms of materials we have chosen dark shades to capture and preserve the sun rays and radiate the heat indoors; specifically, we have opted for black corrugated metal panels and volcanic basalt tiles both of which are widely used in Iceland in remote locations and are known for their resilience to the weather and durability. Inside we have introduced a combination of ash wood, volcanic basalt tiles and wood fabric to provide a warm and welcoming ambience.

All cabins are 3 meters wide and 4.4 meters high, and vary in the length from 4, 6 and 7,5m. They can be manufactured remotely as fully enclosed pods and delivered to site using a standard container lorry. The cabins can be then laid on a bed of beams without foundations on a flattened and compacted soil area of the site. 

We have embraced the requirement for a sustainable lodge able to generate its own power and collect its own water. The intense winds throughout the year provide a perfect opportunity to harvest Eolic energy; as such we have introduced three 20.2 meter high windmills (Britwind®) each of which is able to power up the equivalent of 5.5 households at a wind speed of 4 m/s about half of what’s available in the Mývatn Lake area at peak periods based on weather charts. The windmills incorporate a generator and require a power inverter and a battery nearby; the generated power can be distributed thorough a shallowly buried network to the cabins. In terms of water collection we have incorporated a water tank at the bottom edge of the pitched roof in order to collect rain water. The water is then channeled to a filtration system, on to an electric boiler and then distributed to the cabins faucets and to an underfloor heating network.

The guest house accommodates the main reception, a lounge bar, a dining room for up to 32 guests per seating, a covered terrace with bbq in case of rain and a spa with sauna, steam room and an outdoor jacuzzi. In addition the guest house provides accommodation for the staff along with a back of house area, loading bay and storage. The South and the East entrance elevation are opaque and cladded with black corrugated metal, similar to the cabins. The elevation to the West and North are glazed in order to provide unobstructed views towards the lake and the aurora borealis at night. 

Project Team: 
Rolando Rodriguez-Leal, Natalia Wrzask

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