Langisjór Service Buildings

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Langisjór Service Buildings

  • Icon for facilities Facilities

Langisjór lake is one of the most beautiful and sensitive areas in Iceland. With increasing number of visitors, Vatnajökull National Park wanted to set up a ranger facility on site, serving as an information centre for tourists, and also establish much needed sanitary facilities.

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    Lack of facilities for an increased number of visitors in a fragile natural environment and extreme weather conditions

    Due to the increase in tourism, Vatnajökull national park had to make the pristine area more accessible and safer for visitors with new facilities and infrastructure in the area, which is open only when the weather permits, from mid-June to the end of September.

    One of the main challenges was to find the right location for the structure: Connecting the site to the existing road network, providing beautiful views over lake Langisjór and withstand extreme winds in the area.

    Site selection for spectacular views and to withstand extreme winds

    The two cabins are able to withstand extreme weather and form a shelter and refuge for visitors in the area. The site is located at the crossroads of various routes into the area, providing park rangers with an overview of visitor traffic. The location was selected based on the weather conditions, wind, snow, and access to water.

    The cabins, simple wood constructions, clad with larch and surrounded by a larch terrace and sandstone gabions. were pre-fabricated and transported to the site. On-site construction had to be swift as there is only a limited window of time for construction due to the harsh conditions. Particular emphasis was placed on integrating the building into the surrounding landscape. Another priority was to ensure environmentally friendly solutions for basic infrastructure, such as sewage, water and electricity, also capable of withstanding the extreme weather. Electricity is provided by a wind turbine and solar cells. The irregular shape of the cabins is inspired by the surrounding landscape. A sand path leads visitors from the cabin to the water.

    Key facts

    • Location

      Langisjór, Vatnajökull National Park, S Iceland

    • GPS points

      N64° 06' 39" W18° 26' 31"

    • Protection Framework

      National Park

    • Estimated number of visitors

    • Project Owner

      Vatnajökull National Park

    • Designer

      Arkís Architects

    • Year of construction


    • Materials

      Wood, larch, sandstone gabion walls

    • Grants

      ISK 13,250,000 from the Tourist Site Protection Fund in 2014