A Circular Viewing Platform in the East Fjords of Iceland
ESJA Architecture unveils "Ring of Bjólfur", a ring-shaped viewing platform on the slopes of Mount Bjólfur, 650 m over sea level. The platform overlooks Seydisfjordur, a narrow fjord with steep mountains in East Iceland. The simple concrete structure sits on top of the rugged landscape and hovers over the edge offering a spectacular view over the fjord and to the Atlantic Ocean.
The ring has a diameter of 32 meters, with a walkway and bench spanning the entire 100 m circumference. The 360° experience leads the visitors to explore the views of the mountains around, the town, the valley, and the peak of the mountain above. The slightly sloping ring structure is wheelchair accessible.
Silver Colour Palette
The ring is constructed of concrete, with an inner railing of local larch and an outer railing of slim stainless-steel posts. The three materials display a range of silver-grey colour tones: with the silver patina of the larch, the glittering reflection of the steel, and the tones of the exposed concrete changing with the weather. An important factor in the material selection is robustness and minimal maintenance, due to the harsh weather conditions and remote location. The sharp silver colour palette is in nice contrast with the brown tones of the rocky landscape it sits on.
A Viking Ring
Mount Bjólfur is named after the Viking Bjólfur who first settled in Seydisfjordur. Vikings were buried with their most precious belongings, jewelry, and weapons. It is believed that Bjólfur was buried high up in the mountain; therefore the ring-shaped structure symbolises a precious silver ring belonging to Bjólfur, the forefather of the people of the fjord.
The structure sits on top of the landscape in two places and cantilevers over the edge of the mountain. The load-bearing quality of the closed circle is very efficient; therefore the structure is anchored only in four points.
Construction of the Ring will begin this fall and is expected to finish in fall 2024.
The elevation of the construction site is a challenge, with unpredictable weather conditions and steep road passes, therefore every detail of the construction process is planned in advance.
ESJA is an architecture practice based in Copenhagen and Reykjavik, founded by architect Audur Hreidarsdottir. With a passion for the great outdoors and urban life alike, ESJA designs spaces in remote locations as well as in the urban realm. Investigating circular design and smart use of resources is of particular interest, therefore ESJA participates in research and development projects in addition to architectural design and renovations.