Snaefellsstofa Visitor Center / ARKÍS architects

© Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson

Architects: ARKÍS architects
Location: Egilsstaðir,
Owner: Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður – Vatnajökull galcier
Project area: 750 sqm
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson

© Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson

Snæfellsstofa Visitor Center communicates the dignity of the surrounding nature and is closely connected to its immediate surroundings. It attracts visitors to its unique appearance and simultaneously works as an attractor for indoor and outdoor activities. The building is divided into three parts so that it can be utilized in different ways, depending on the season.

© Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson

The visitor center is placed on the site at the location of a pronounced change in elevation, so that the building gently glides over the terrain. The location is selected to ensure shelter from winds, ample daylight and mountain views.


The building form is inspired by the eternal creative force of the glacier; how it breaks its way through terrains or retreats and carves new, ever changing natural wonders into the landscape. These creations provide models for the spaces and forms found in the building.

Material palettes are largely composed of local materials. Local larch, turf roof and landscaping walls of local rock. The nearby forest will become apparent in the building’s texture.

© Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson
© Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson

The Building

In plan, the building is X shaped. The building’s main axis, the exhibitions- and education axis rises up to both sides and creates a framework for an exhibition space and a library. The exhibition- and education axis rises up from the Rock Foundation as a living and ever changing glacier. The Rock Foundation or the service axis crosses the exhibition axis and houses a café and restrooms in addition to staff facilities.

© Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson

Through the two axes lies the information path, ending in an outdoor amphitheater.

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Snaefellsstofa Visitor Center / ARKÍS architects" 06 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    Very strong image… easy and impressive look…

    • Ronia

      I absolutly agree – go, Iceland, go! :)

  • new

    Great project and excellent use of material. However, could somebody explain the butcher block detail.

  • Holcim Awards

    Nice design. Simple forms arranged in great composition.

  • Paulius

    Best regards, from Lithuania;)