As the final design project for B.A. degree (IAA 2012) we were given the task of designing a dwelling place for travellers who have undertaken the strenuous and challenging task of hiking across Iceland. The building
was to be situated on the tip of Reykjanes, as a beginning or end point of the journey.
The building was to service the basic needs of travellers (shop, info, wc, dining, dwelling) as well as house a special type of program, chosen by each student in accordance with their view of the journey´s requirements.
The project emphasis was therefore both connectivity to nature and embodiment of the traveller´s needs.
„The ultimate meaning of any building is
beyond architecture; it directs our consciousness back to the world and towards our own sense of self and being. Significant architecture makes us experience ourselves as complete embodied and spiritual beings. In fact, this is the great function of all meaningful art.“
Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, pg.17
Varða // A resting place on Reykjanestá
The building is a resting place for travellers who have hiked across Iceland. The design process was focused on the spiritual and physical journey of an individual going through such a long and demanding hike.
Step by step he finds the next cairn of his path and defeats obstacles while the journey forms a series of experiences that unlock new ways of thinking.
The building provides a suitable venue for the travellers to self-reflect.
Here they can rest, document and share their experiences. They can go through what they have achieved, part with their fellow travellers and the moments they have shared.
The shape of the building is derived from the idea that the traveller´s journey takes a physical shape in a walking path that gradually winds up and frames the building´s functions. The walking path is a strip that evolves into a wall and finally a roof, leading the individual through a
series of spaces that can be viewed as tiny landmarks. In this sense the building reflects the series of experiences and personal victories one has achieved.
The program unites the hikers and visitors who wish to catch a glimpse into their world. On the east side of the central strip you find general services and a venue for communications between groups, including an exhibition room. On the west side there are spaces exclusive to hikers to dwell in and share all their grains of experience. The end of the building connects to an outdoor space with a beautiful view that reminds the individual that he or she is a part of a much larger context and path.