the school studio

Iceland Cabins

The Space Inbetween

Hiking Outposts for Icelandic Remote Highlands
Project Type: Competition
Team: Kyle Bigart, Kathryn Hoefler
Program: Hiking Cabins
Scale: 2,000sf, Multiple Outposts
Prompt: BeeBreeders Iceland

At a quick glance, Iceland seems to be the land of opposites. Being the most active volcanic region in the world, it also is home to the largest glacier in all of Europe. Lush winding rivers cascade over grassy fields and connect with hot springs as a short distance away some of the most starkly beautiful and barren tundra terrain waits patiently for exploration. And all of this happens within a relatively small island country. Though, understanding Iceland and its culture, all tales of hidden people, sagas of Helena and old Viking high council and poetry; isn’t to figure out about one of these amazing historical or geological facts… but rather to see the fabric which all of these create together. It is about what happens when you combine these elements and juxtapose them in the small space of Iceland, and the amazing dichotomies it creates culturally and physically.

Architecture, above all other things, tells a story of who we are, our beliefs, our culture and hardships. Buildings slowly evolve into relics of the past, frozen in time, as the structures patiently wait to become obsolete again. For Iceland, this is even more true as the small country Island has experienced a relatively isolated culture for 1000 years, and furthermore, hasn’t been able to save and develop an extensive architectural history until just recent efforts. The Icelandic Hiking Cabins look to not just become a sleeping spot, but rather strive to reinterpret the traditional building style and heritage of Iceland, while becoming a physical and representative icon transitioning it from old to new. With the smaller scale of building, the hiking cabins understand that iceland doesn’t need any castles or monuments… the mountains are its castles.

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