The winner of the 2023 Architecture Master Prize in the Conceptual Architecture category

The Iceland Volcano Museum, designed by Studio RE + N, honors the grandeur of Myvatn, one of the most magnificent regions in Iceland. It is a region renowned for its breathtaking scenery, rich in awe-inspiring natural wonders. Within this setting, the Iceland Volcano Museum has been conceptualized to integrate seamlessly into the landscape.


Entry View
Photo credit: Studio RE+N

Its unique design features an inclined roof that emerges organically from the earth, ensuring minimal disruption to the site. This innovative approach contributed to the design’s recognition as the winner of the 2023 Architecture MasterPrize in the Conceptual Architecture category.

Architectural inspiration

The museum's circular structure draws inspiration from existing natural elements in the area, such as volcanic craters, hot spring baths, and lakes. Its elongated elliptical shape is strategically aligned with the Hverfjall and Dimmuborgir Lava Fields. The double-sloped elliptical volume facilitates a fluid space that merges the indoors with the outdoors. The intersection of these slopes forms a terraced performance deck, providing an elevated vantage point over the landscape. Within the museum, a continuous ring of exhibition and office spaces encircles a tranquil reflecting pool, symbolizing the reflection of Myvatn's culture within this space.


Bird's-eye View
Photo credit: Studio RE+N


Courtyard View
Photo credit: Studio RE+N

Pathways to explore

Three distinct pathways guide visitors through the museum's circular layout. The entrance features a descending ramp, symbolically separating visitors from the mundane world. The interior gallery begins here, offering a serene path for contemplation and a rich exploration of artwork and installations. The second pathway, an exterior walkable roof, serves as an observation deck. This vantage point allows for stunning views of the Hverfjall, Dimmuborgir Lava Fields, and the Myvatn area, providing an uplifting and panoramic experience. The third pathway is an outdoor park loop trail, acting as an open-air museum where visitors can enjoy large-scale sculptures and site-specific commissions amidst the dynamic landscape.


Model Photo
Photo credit: Yuting Zhang


Gallery View
Photo credit: Studio RE+N

Façade and Materials

The museum's facade, repetitive and visually permeable, fosters a connection with the surrounding landscape, while enclosing a space that maximizes visual and physical engagement with the environment. The sinuous facade, facing multiple directions, features optimally oriented louvers that vary to maximize sunlight conservation. This design element echoes the linear patterns found in classic Icelandic architecture. The materials used in the museum's construction evoke a direct, elemental, and timeless dialogue with the landscape, providing a perfect backdrop for the art pieces displayed in the multi-purpose exhibition hall. The Iceland Volcano Museum respects the unique landscape of Myvatn and offers visitors a holistic and immersive experience of Icelandic nature and culture.


Roof Deck View
Photo credit: Studio RE+N

About Studio RE+N

Co-founded by architect Yuting Zhang, Pu Zhang, and landscape architect Shimin Cao, Studio RE+N is a multidisciplinary and award-winning firm with offices in Shanghai, Lishui, and New York. The studio is committed to narrating and interpreting the essence of place, advocating for user participation in spatial redefinition. It has received accolades such as the Architecture MasterPrize, A’ Design Award, and Muse Design Award. Among its recent projects is Being Heard, selected for exhibition at the DesignTO Festival 2024.