COMPETITION : Iceland Cave Tower by Bee Breeders
Partner : Benjamin Magin
This project offers a point of connection and contemplation by navigating the delicate relationship of the American and the European seismic plates. Linked by a bridge, an observation tower and a visitor center occupy opposing edges of the ravine and encompass a dueted relationship of ‘similar but not the same’. While the observation tower is not insulated, the visitor center is fully protected from the elements and features a cafe, restroom, storage room, ticket booth, a small library and information stand, as well as a seating area for a temporary cinema. The tower is composed of a porous wood-stud enclosure which houses a meandering solid stair, featuring various landings that offer views to the surrounding landscape. The two buildings complement each other and curve up towards the sun, maximizing the capacity for natural light and views onto the surrounding landscape.
The two masses are comparable in material as they are made almost entirely from sustainable wood construction as well as minor metal structural and decorative elements. The buildings are positioned on either side of the fault line and react to the subtle rise in the fissure’s lip to inform entrance and circulation.
The internal organization is composed of triangular movements being confined to a rectangular boundary. A trilateral circulatory system navigates vertically through the space, thus defining the locations of views and program for the tower and visitor center respectfully.
A - Masses react to ravine topography
B - Triangulation within the tower informs circulation
C - Triangulation within the visitor center informs circulation
D - Diagramatic site plan
Floor plan cut at 3 meters above ground level
Perspective section [N]
When accessing the caves, the issue at hand is to create a non-invasive way of navigating the jagged and uneven rocks, which do not always offer an opportunity for regular and orthogonal module placement.
The proposed system consists of four stakes, two metal cables, and a plank of pinewood for each module. The stakes are placed in between rock formations, the cable connecting the module at short edges, and a wooden plank is placed on the cable. Each stake can be connected to another at four different levels, which allows vertical, as well as horizontal flexibility in walking path formation.
The resulting pathways can not only connect the caves, but also be installed on the their steep slopes.
A - Walking module view
B - Components for one module
C - Sample section
D - Sample plan