Siglufjörður Avalanche Protection

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Siglufjörður Avalanche Protection

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The Siglufjörður protection wall is a large barrier constructed to protect the residential area from avalanches. The 3 km long, 18 meter high wall has a mass of one billion m3. Intertwined  with the structure are 9 km of pedestrian paths, viewing points and traced water passages all within the protection area. It is a structure that allows for hikes, picnics and concerts with fantastic views over the mountains and the ocean while serving the very necessary technical function of protecting the town of Siglufjörður.

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    Cities and towns

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    National parks

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    UNESCO sites

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    Main roads

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    Vulnerability of mountainous areas

    Snow avalanches and landslides in the fjords of East and West Iceland have caused injury and death as well as great damage to infrastructure and property. Facing the challenge of high-risk areas, a series of protection structure projects have been implemented over the past decades. The vast scale of  snow avalanche protection structures has a great impact on the surroundings that can be dominating and negative. Part of the design challenge is to adapt and integrate the structures into the mountainous landscape while merging the technical and recreational functions of the structures, creating safe and enriching nature experiences within the space.

    Merging protection and recreation functions through infrastructure design

    The protection wall in Siglufjörður is designed to act as a placemaking element that enables access and activities in the mountainous protection areas. The protection structure merges with pedestrian paths, viewing points, and traced water passages that end in a small pond, providing new spaces for social and outdoor activities such as hikes, picnics and concerts. A design that works simultaneously with the scale of the mountain and the scale of the body. Approaching the mountain as a place of risk while opening it up for a safe and enriching experiences.

    Key facts

    • Location

      Siglufjörður, Fjallabyggð N Iceland

    • GPS points


    • Protection Framework

      National Park

    • Estimated number of visitors

    • High season

    • Low season

    • Project Owner

      Fjallabyggð municipality

    • Designer


    • Year of construction


    • Materials

      Suspension bridge: Utility poles, trawl doors, tow wires, crane wires, bridge wood. Floating bridge: construction wood, plastic pipes.

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