Iceland Thermal Springs Guest House competition

Located on the east coast of Lake Mývatn in Northern Iceland, the Vogafjós Farm Resort is a family-owned guest house surrounded by breathtaking Icelandic landscape. The farm has been owned and operated by the same family for nearly 120 years and operates as a mixed-stock farm of nearly 120 sheep and about 40 cows and cattle.

With views of lava rocks and birch trees set against the stark surroundings, it makes the perfect location to spot the northern lights and visit the nearby geothermal hot springs that Iceland is famous for.

Design Criteria

The design competition called for:

  • A design for an an exclusive guest house addition to the resort, with 8-10 guest rooms with en-suite bathrooms
  • Each bedroom to incorporate views of the natural surroundings and the Aurora Borealis
  • The guest house would have the capability of functioning as a separate facility in the case of high-profile or celebrity guests visiting
  • The complex should include a common kitchen area, living room, luggage storage room and an outdoor hot tub
  • Maximum building height - 7m

Our Architecture team were shortlisted for their concept design for this popular tourist destination at Vogafjós Farm. The proposal sought to draw upon the dramatic landscape in its form and materiality and maximises views towards the surrounding natural landmarks of Lake Mývatn and the volcano, Hverfjall.

The project consists of two distinct elements, ‘gather’ a communal guest house which contains the changing rooms, dormitory facilities, and common kitchen, and ‘retreat’ a series of secluded private cabins connected by timber walkways.

The communal guest house consists of two angular timber forms inspired by the local volcanic landmark of Hverfjall, connected by a glazed lobby and circulation space. Aiming to utilise local volcanic stone, a fabric first approach and take advantage of the geothermal potential of the site to heat both the building and pools, as part of a low carbon design. 

The cabins are raised up from the ground to reduce its impact on the surrounding landscape and are designed to be easily prefabricated and transported to the remote site. These are intended for a more private retreat, and viewing the Aurora Borealis.

To download our full, shortlisted entry, please click here.