Arnar Þór Sigurjónsson is a newly graduated BA in architecture from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts.

The task for all BA students was to design a refuge, a cairn on the journey of knowledge and self reflection that serves as a setting for educational camps for school groups during the winter and a resting place for travelers on their hiking pilgrimage during summers.

Set in the vicinity of lake Kleifarvatn, the building incarnates a stopover on a path that stretches along the continental drift ridge across the island, from Reykjanes in the south to Axarfjörður in the North.

Sigujónsson’s design Iðan (e. squirm) takes its name from the movement in the journey.

According to the designer,

On the second day of the pilgrimage the pilgrim reaches his first resting place at Iðan. The building is intended to prepare the soon to be pilgrims for their voyage. In the approach and within the building various themes from the upcoming pilgrimage are recreated.

In the project, and in pilgrimage in general, there is a strong emphasis on the man-nature axis, so I wanted the building to find it’s place somewhere between the euclidian human mind and the fluent forms of nature. The spaces in the building find their inspiration in natural architectural spaces, such as caves, cliffs, crevasse etc.

Arnar-Lokaverk Arnar-LokaverkThe building is formed by a single concrete plane, which rises steadily from the ground before it folds its way around it self and back, representing the pilgrim’s journey.


  The folded stucture opens up or stretches to certain places in the environment and closes to other, trying to maximize the pre-existing spatial qualities on the site it’s located on.

ArnarThor_web5 ArnarThor_web4

Iðan is meant to be a social place where visitors can get to know each other and exchange stories before the venture on their journey. The buildings location ensures privacy from the road, however the visitors are not meant to find privacy from each other within the building since it is a communal experience. The building private spaces are located around the building in the natural spaces.

The project was exhibited at Reykjavik Art Museum in the LHÍ Student Show 2013.

All images by Arnar Þór Sigurjónsson


This is our second edition of our yearly round-up of final projects by brand new designers graduating from the Iceland Academy of the Arts.