Sólveig Gunnarsdóttir is one of the BA-Architecture graduates 2013 of 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.

Here we have Gunnarsdottir’s Krossför – A haven for hikers and recovering addicts.


According to the designer,

Krossför is a rehabilitation center for long suffering addicts, and also an overnight shelter for pilgrims. The building’s site is secluded away from traffic, only accessible by a gravel road. It takes its form from the landscape, the hikers path along the water, and across the direction the addicts arrive from, representing the turn they’re taking by deciding to go to rehab.


The pilgrim’s wing reacts to the traveler’s route and becomes a part of it.  To get inside, the pilgrim must walk through the wall. Here he can dry his clothes and here he rests and the space allows him to serve his basic human needs before continuing to the crossing. The addict’s entrance leads straight up to the cells, the most private part of the building.


The living area on the ground floor has multiple purposes. It’s a space for eating, meetings, reading and general interaction between the inpatients


Behind the pilgrim’s wing is the rehabilitation center, protected by the wall that separates the two. The rehabilitation wing is designed to have layers of protection, surrounded by fortress-like, fair-faced concrete walls. I used light in context with privacy, brightening the closer one reaching to the crossing.


In the middle of the rehabilitation wing is a crossroad of sort. The entrance behind you represents the stage you were in when you first arrived. On your right is a consultation room, straight ahead is the living area, and on your left are the showers that eventually lead up to the crossing. All directions represent different stages of the road to recovery.


The final step is when the addict walks out of the crossing and into the water. These opposites between the hot air, and the cold water are proven to be strengthening both for mind and body – but first and foremost it’s symbolic, with walking into the water you’re washing away your sins and surrendering to your helplessness.


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


All images by Sólveig Gunnarsdóttir

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.