Greenhouse Restaurant (Competition)

Mývatn’s natural beauty offers an unforgettable experience to all visitors: from breath-taking, lunar-like landscapes, lakes and hot spring baths to volcanoes and the phantasmagoric northern lights. The proposed project aims to further contribute to the experience, while being respectful and integrated in its context.

The focus of the project is to both put the process of indoor farming at the center of attention, while also enhancing the relations between the building, visitors, and surroundings.

Therefore, the project develops around the volume of the greenhouse, which is emphasised and placed in the middle of the building. A concrete volume emerges from the landscape and embraces the glass volume, acting as a buffer and a transitional element between the outside world and the greenhouse. The concrete volumes envelopes and protects, responds, and resolves the different levels of the existing terrain, while allowing a visitor that enters the building continuous contact with the greenhouse and the outside landscape.

Carefully thought proportions strengthen the dialogue between the concrete volume that houses the public functions, and the glass volume of the greenhouses.

A transition is also made from the entrance to the site, where the parking is placed, towards the beautiful views, expressed through the elongated volume that houses an expo gallery and culminates with the noble functions: restaurant and event room.

A grid layout throughout the site, forming the structural basis of the project, brings order and clarity to the ensemble. The project consists of two levels: the ground floor contains most of the public functions, while the lower level is technical, housing the glasshouses and the technical spaces that ensure it functions as a well-oiled mechanism. The multipurpose room and lobbies extend on both levels, acting as a hinge between levels, and offering spectacular views to the outside.

The greenhouses are modular, can be partitioned, be built in phases, and can offer the possibility of creating different climates for different kind of plants. The metallic columns and beams bring rhythm to the composition. A technical corridor is placed on the east side, giving easy functional access to all the greenhouses. Its counterpart on the west side contains storage, water tanks and technical control rooms for the environment of each greenhouse. Under the restaurant we have the food storage, with direct access to the kitchen. Two smaller round volumes contain special plantations: one is dedicated to mushrooms and the other one is a nursery.

The restaurant and the multipurpose positions favour the views: towards the baths, towards the volcano and surrounding landscape, but also towards the greenhouse. A visitor dinning in the restaurant is always in constant connection with the greenhouse but has spectacular vistas over the natural baths and the volcano simultaneously.

The project proposes a participative process and an immersive experience for the visitor: the expositional gallery on the ground floor offers information about greenhouse agriculture, about the cultivated plants and the necessary conditions; a path through the greenhouses allows for direct interactions with the plants, while one can pick the vegetables with his own hands; designated places found in the greenhouses offer the possibility for visitors to cook and enjoy a freshly prepared meal. An amphitheater where lectures or cooking lessons can be held, is also found in the greenhouses and on top of it, we can find a lush garden, where people have access and relax while having views over the plantations.

The architectural language strengthens the relation between functions, and between building and its immediate environment. The greenhouse is the consequence of technical, practical, and ecological constraints, expressed through the industrial language of its envelope. In contrast, the rest of the building is simple, tectonic, and uniform, which contributes to the homogeneity of the building, it’s integration in the site, and doesn’t distract from the main protagonists: the greenhouse and the landscape.

The materials underline the functions: glass and metal are used for the greenhouse, while a locally produced concrete is used for the rest of the building. Accents of wood help achieve a cosier atmosphere in the restaurant, lobbies, or multipurpose room.

Sustainability is present throughout the project on many levels. The project’s modularity is underlined by a clear, flexible, and easy to build design. The greenhouse makes use of natural light and ventilation. Geothermal energy is the source of heating and cooling in the building. Water is collected from the roof and used for irrigation.

The project aims to create a sensorial, visual, and educational experience where the users can enjoy and comprehend the process of growing vegetables in challenging conditions, while relaxing and savoring the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

The project is a place to meet and discuss, a place to discover the beauty of the surrounding landscape, a place to share memories around a fresh meal: an OASIS in the remote region of Mývatn.




Competition proposal


Mývatn Region, Iceland


Claudia Galván Zuluaga, Iñaki Millán Omar, Alexandru Patrichi