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of crater and hearth

In collaboration with Hadeel Ayed Mohammad

Project entry awarded green prize in the Bee Breeders' Iceland Northern Lights Rooms Competition

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Iceland is home to a wide spectrum of volatile phenomenons that is continuously shaped by the forces of nature. As the land of fire and ice, it is an all-encompassing frontier to the untamed wilderness and beyond. The intensity of its terrain is unmatched only by the fickleness of its weather; a vast and desolate landscape of fjords and plateaus tempered by the Northern Atlantic Drift. It can fluctuate notoriously without a moment’s notice leaving the unprepared in a state of calamity. For the audacious few, the island is a force to be reckoned with…

Beneath such a powerful entity, there lies a serenity of unimaginable beauty. Due to its subarctic locale, the island experiences a temperamental climate that results in some of the world’s most spectacular atmospheric anomalies; one of which is the Aurora Borealis. Formed by the collision between the solar winds and Earth’s magnetosphere, the northern light is a vibrant painting on a celestial canvas. Like an opulent serenade, it dances across the night sky with a seductive allure enticing onlookers and passersby. In order to fathom its beauty, one must immerse oneself fully without distractions within a world of one’s own cosmos. An endeavor to design a room to view the skies is for architecture to be muted in its presence, so that nature can radiate in splendor.

The project is conceived from the synthesis between pseudocraters, and the traditional Viking long-houses. By the shores of Lake Mývatn, there are unique landforms that mimic volcanic eruptions known as rootless cones. They are in fact, the violent outcomes of steam explosions caused by lava when it flows over a wet surface. The results are large hollow cavities that look like meteor craters. Coincidentally, their concave formations make them optimal for sky grazing as they function like nature’s planetariums. The circular apexes provide covers that filter out undesired “noises” such as artificial light pollution, and other extraneous elements. What emerges is a place for one to reflect upon the richness of the island’s essence.