Fast Food Restaurant – KFC / PK Arkitektar

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Architects: PK Arkitektar ehf
Location: Keflavík, Iceland
Client: KFC Iceland
Design team: Pálmar Kristmundsson and Fernando de Mendonça
Consultants: VSB Engineers
Constructed area: 530 sqm
Project year: 2005
Photographs: Rafael Pinho

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Fast food restaurants like Kentucky Fried Chicken are usually known for the standardized look. The architecture in these places seems to never take much consideration on the specific location and surroundings. In Keflavík the intention was to make a design that would brake with these aspects.

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The building volume is a play with black boxes. The main body is a horizontal box lying on the pitch black pavement and two vertical ones who stretch up and out, catching both the customers in their cars on the ground and the skylight from above into the building. The outside is clad with semi matte black tiles sparingly cut out for vertical ribbons of windows, which underlines the cool and sophisticated appearance. The west end of the building is surprisingly sheer glass, which mirrors the big space and opens the building to the street and sea view.

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The inside is kept in raw in-situ cast which invites for some interesting play with sincere light, shadow and surface. The fine detailing and light fixtures designed by the architect are a dialog to the standardized menu billboards and brand furniture as they come in brightly coloured synthetic materials.

Dinning area
Dinning area
Cite: "Fast Food Restaurant – KFC / PK Arkitektar" 02 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=33672>
  • mec1

    jeez must me a slow day at Arch Daily.
    its a KFC!! FFS!!

  • http://www.archilocus.com archilocus

    The location and the architecture make it look like a warehouse. I know it’s a fastfood restaurant and people eat s**t, but why do the architects think people also want to see some ?

  • Chan

    Why this super-ordinary design can be here in Archdaily?

  • Leo

    in defense of Archdaily.com, this building might not be attractive, but it is unusual for a KFC (or any fast food joint), and thus is worthy of a discussion…

    • ygogolak

      Yes, it is different, but in this case, surprisingly, different is not better.

  • http://dddd@ddddesign.com john

    …its finger lickin good.

  • http://deleted qingtong

    一般般吧

  • http://map-lab.com Dan

    I would prefer to see this as a big red, goofy looking chicken. It is a fast food restaurant, why must it try to look like a museum?

    • Leo

      check out the “Big Chicken” in Marietta, Georgia, USA

  • Dustin

    I believe it is important for architects to become more involved in changing the everyday buildings around them. KFC, Mcdonalds, home depot, walmart, etc… all these places are what ordinary people think of as architecture, they are not interested in a new house in Japan or a Bridge in Norway or who Legorreta is, they care about the places they visit everyday, places that normally present a terribly commercial architecture. this project is refreshing as a concept. I think its great that the architects have ventured to destroy the standarized look of this building. Having said that though, what a horrible result. It does look more like the chiken lab than a place I would enjoy eating. I feel like the architects really wanted to make a museum or something and ended up with a KFC project and just kind of made the same building. It is a very Powerful statement, but an equally mediocre outcome.

  • rabbit

    i completely agree with Dustin… why is there so much negativity towards this project. it’s detailed quite well, better than many office buildings where i live. if anything, there should be more sophisticated work on this scale and economic level.

    like Dustin said, most people care only about what they see and visit on a regular basis… they have no connection with amazing spaces and structures that they only see or visit once every five years or longer.

  • http://www.archdaily.com David Basulto [tricky]

    Dear readers,

    Would you rather never know about this building? I think that is very interesting that fast food chains always try to “localize” something when entering other countries, this being a specific food or adapting to local architecture. Clearly, Iceland is a small, quiet and cold country, with its own codes. And in my opinion, you can´t build something that contrasts with this bucolic landscape.

    Don´t close yourselves from what is happening, even if it´s something small or subtle.

    We have very interesting projects from this office that we are processing for publication in the next days. Stay tuned ;)

    • Knok Knok

      Dear Basulto: I gotta say I’m a follower of AD publications. I appreciate the hard work AD puts on keeping us architects daily inform. But, as a professional advise keep your content in line, not out of it. To quick answer your awkward question: YES! I would rather never know about this building……WHY? There are far more interesting projects than this one, happening right now!!!, this is where AD should be focus, instead your suggesting we buy this counterfeit, which reminds me just because it looks, smells & taste like real chicken, means you’re actually eating chicken. Same as just because it looks, sounds & feels like “real architecture”, means you’re in presence of it. This delusion is very well achieved on today’s “branding architecture” which is no different than “KFC Box with Real Chicken Inside”.

      P.S. on your comment “that fast food chains always try to “localize” something when entering other countries, this being a specific food or adapting to local architecture”
      The only thing they might try hard to “localize” is the possible consumer, once this consumer enters the “chicken box” is like been at all KFC stores around the world at the same place an time, this “hyper-presence” is a “generic architecture side effect.” Variations within stores becomes calculated distinctions of the same thing, not intended pro-adaptation of a social, economic, urban localities.

  • http://map-lab.com Dan

    go to thearchitect’s website and look at the museum of design and applied arts – mudesa. This is almost identical in style to the KFC. The style is fitting for the museum and is beautiful, but for a fast-food chain I feel that it is not appropriate.

  • Peter

    Dear David
    I think is great to see this type of solution to get a short lesson on what not to do on a similar situation
    this reminds me of the typical warehouse building in Long Island, NY..yes Long Island!
    so for me the problem with this building is that is neither KFC or a restaurant but more of a re-designed ikea building

  • patentpolice

    What’s missing is a photo of the dinig area, it’s odd why it’s not included. The project should be about a better dining experience, so where is the dining room?

    As for comments about this looking like an industrial warehouse, it’s perfectly fitting for the food being served here. Read “Ominvoire’s Dilemma” and you’ll understand. With that, and after reading that book, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable desiging a building for a fast food chain.

  • Euan

    Looks like most come here looking for architectural porn. I guess that reflects an abandonment of the ordinary by designers which is a shame as it makes up the bulk of our environment. This is a fast food outlet superior to most and it’s good to see ArchDaily including it. Warehouses, factories and business estates often seem to fly under the radar but we have to look at them as we drive along motorways/interstates. I’d rather see this than the usual banal efforts.

    • amflores

      Euan, you just nailed it. We´re accustomed to think of architecture looking for the next Parthenon and forget the banality of our regular surroundings. Working for a firm that specializes in commercial projects, I´ve done my couple of fast-food restaurants and know how restrictive are they on their image. I can do nothing but amaze at the results on this building and the risk taken. Can it be better? Sure, but to criticize it you should also be aware of the corporative environment in which is involved and applaud the result.

  • alejandro

    Although it has some nice details it´s a sad place to eat!
    In Mexico must KFC are bright red with lots of architectural makeover gimmicks – it may be that they reflect the nations character perhaps in Iceland they find this building cheerful.

  • Roberto

    It’s a competent architecture. It’s correct. It don’t have to look like a comon restaurant to looks like a restaurant. I belive that the problem is mor the tipe of visual communication than the architecture.

    • Syl

      If people here on this site can’t read a project predented without strong visual communication means, or are easily manipulated by these, than we have a problem.

      This project have some strong qualities in my opinion, hence more subtle, wichh is harder to graphically express and to actually physically achieve in a build project.

  • lester

    I wouldn’t mind living in that building (adapted to housing, and a bit smaller) at all.

    As a fast food joint its a lot more interesting than those colorful shacks. In this case such taste does not go well with the food… =)

  • http://www.2smc.arq.br Marcio N Coelho Jr

    What is the problem with you people? Why should it be ‘cheerful’? Why is it ‘not appropriate’? What kind of ‘critical view’ is that?? Btw, it is located in Iceland, not in the US or Mexico. It is no doubt way better than the usual built fast food stuff. A beautiful building, with fine details and nice and well located openings to the views. What is really missing are photos from the dinning area with PEOPLE on it. Apparently, they didn’t want to show the “brand furniture… in brightly coloured synthetic materials” in contrast with the sober building materials. It must be interesting, reflecting the opposing qualities of space and the food served in it. Why do architects tend to show their work as empty shells?

  • etty

    only in iceland they build a kfc that looks as good as this.

  • cad

    Where’s the spinning bucket?

  • n-ICE

    the thing with this building that it’s in Iceland, Iceland (not like most other countrys) is that Iceland is trying NOT to damage the beautifull nature that Iceland has. And so instead of having it in bright red colors, they have it in blackish stone color and all nature colors. Yes I agree it is a little “boring” on the inside but they didn’t show you the kid section wich is ,without doubt, a more colorful place. They chose a beautifull landscape and made the building in style with the land. Plus, it’s alot better looking then other fast-food restaurants.

    p.s. sorry for all my spelling errors if there are any, I’m only Icelandic

  • http://map-lab.com Dan

    so by making the building in style with the land, they chose to surround it with an enormous paved parking lot? Just because it is different from the typical fast-food restaurant doesn’t mean that it is good.

    • Syl

      just because it is a fast-food rewstaurant doesn’t mean it’s bad. Why is simple, straightforward, subtle, clean and well detailed and executed architecture is so much often bashed?

  • http://www.archdaily.com David Basulto [tricky]

    I don´t see why the parking is a problem.

    • http://map-lab.com Dan

      David, it was a response to n-ICE’s comment that the building is trying to fit into the beautiful landscape. If this was the case, the architect could have made a better effort to fix the problem of paved parking lots and the damage they cause to the landscape.

  • VW

    I’m okay with the building – I suppose…

    What I’m wondering is why is ArchDaily sporting retreads? http://eyecandy-webcandy.blogspot.com/2007/11/pk-arkitektar.html

    • http://www.archdaily.com David Basulto [tricky]

      Dear VW,

      I don´t read that blog.

      • VW

        perhaps you should…

  • hi

    there’s a KFC in Los Angeles with an over the top design: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KFC_bucket_restaurant.jpg
    also, you spelled “break” wrong

  • brianbuchalski

    I dig the KFC. Thanks for posting it Archdaily.

  • laBOMBA

    It’s interesting to see that KFC is putting its branding aside to make architecture the predominant statement in this building. Architects can only applaud this! But it does have a surrealistic feel at the same time.
    Good work of posting it Archdaily, it is sure worth discussing.

    • Mickey Mao

      I am also glad that AD has posted this project. Look at the debate it has generated!

  • Sai

    Good change from a tyiaclly ‘loud’ and attention seeking retail/ food retail design.
    I like it. Question is, how did they get KFC to agree to the colour scheme that certainly do not speak of their logo?
    Interesting.

  • james

    I dont understand the objection to posting this.

    Its certainly interesting, but the language seems inappropriate. I think its abit heavy. It’s one thing to consider site, but what about program? the economic or social connotations of the industry- a far more worthy study i think.

    A much more successful example of fast food architecture is the mcdonalds by njiric + njiric.

    • http://www.njiric.com hrvoje njiric

      thanks james for your comment on mcdonalds of sept. 02 ! check our new web site in november !

    • VW

      I totally agree with James… Can’t wait to see the new njiric site! (the guy slamming his computer was getting old.)

      Coincidentally this project is also a retread via the chap at eye candy (eyecandy-webcandy.blogspot.com) through AMNP… http://architecture.myninjaplease.com/?p=2651

  • THOM

    JUNK ARCHITECTURE