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fractured connecting the stories of landscapes
Iceland Volcano Museum 2019

The Volcano Museum, along with the Visitor Center and the Thermal Springs Guest House, is one of three proposed projects connected by a common design language intended to provide way-finding for travelers. Referencing the vernacular architecture, lore and geological history of the area, they are intended to feel of the earth, while framing the views of the landscape and natural landmarks. 

These three designs feature fractured planes of earth playing off of the balance between an inward comfort to an outward movement connecting to the landscape, yet each building is a direct response its specific site and intended purpose.   This approach can be extended to a larger number of structures at additional sites throughout the region visually anchored by the Hverfjall Volcano. 

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Traditional Icelandic turf houses blended built forms into the landscape while connecting spaces beneath the earth. This enabled different families to live together, creating a unique type of communal living with shared resources and spaces.  Pulling from this idea, the program in the museum is laid out so that all common resources would be "shared" in the center.  

Having the information center at the core of the building, all of the landmarks can be viewed and learned about from this point. The circulation then disperses people, resembling the flow of lava outward from a central point. 


The form of this building is situated to connect to the views of the surrounding volcanic and geothermal landmarks of the Lake Myvatn area, as well as open views to the Northern Lights above.  At the entry, one can see the berm, the landscapes beyond, and the peaks of the structure fracturing the earth.  The entry itself is intended to feel like the lava tunnels in the surrounding region. Ramping down into the landscape, one has the experience of descending into the earth exaggerating the breath of views once inside.


The multipurpose exhibition hall connects to the GRJOTAGJA CAVE famous for featuring a beautiful geothermal hot spring in its depths.   This space has the largest presence on the ground plane highlighting its pivotal role in sharing information.  


A gallery below the ground plane is quietly tucked away.  Here, a ramp leads one from the information center, framing a view out towards HVERFJALL VALCANO, down into the depths of the earth. This intimate gallery contrasts the open floor plan of the museum above allowing for different means of expression.   Situated next to the exhibition space, the artwork in the gallery can be presented as a connected event or  remain separate. 


The lecture hall connects to the HVERIR area where one can see many smoking fumaroles and boiling mud pots, surrounded by sulfur crystals of many different colors.  Many of the sights sounds and smells associated with this place are the root of folklore.

This space is meant to be a place where the museum can gather a group of people to for a presentation or programmed activity.  Sharing research, thoughts and ideas with visitors as well as locals will engage people with the museum and its surroundings.  The lecture hall is structured with large forum steps and a flexible presentation area. 

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