Bergþóra Góa Kvaran is a 2013 BA-Architecture graduate of the Iceland 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.

Here is Kvaran’s design Skúti, located in a small rift south of Kleifarvatn.


According to the designer,

Pilgrims travel for various reasons. In the designing process, the main focus was on those who have chosen to travel alone, to make up their past, or to learn more about their limitations. On this journey the travelers meet other travelers that share the same experience and because of that they share a special bond. The building becomes a meeting point, a place to relax like a cave that becomes your shelter on the journey.


The building is split into three main spaces, the knowledge area, the communication area and the cleansing area. Pilgrims arriving from the west approach the building from an open area, where they are able to cleanse, rest and gain energy for the journey ahead.

During winter time, schoolchildren arrive at this open area, entering the main building, the communication area.


Pilgrims arriving from the east enter through the knowledge area. There they have an opportunity to recall past 39 days.



The traveler can rest in a warm pool overlooking Kleifarvatn.


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

All images by Bergþóra Góa Kvaran


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.