Grjótagjá observation tower
In the dramatic landscape of Vogar farmland, on the encounter of two continents, stands the Grjótagjá observation tower. It is a landmark for the two geothermal hot spring caves Karlagjá and Kvennasgjá. The tower embraces and celebrates its surroundings and takes inspiration from the hilly topography. It is a structure which resembles both the caves with it´s transitions between inside and outside and the hills with its dramatic silhouette. It is a shiny pinnacle which highlights and marks out a landmark.
The tower is constructed out of cost-efficient standard steel components. The inner structure is a stairway with resting platforms. The sides are covered with extended steel sheets which gives a transparent impression of the surrounding landscape. When you enter the tower through an opening in the outer layer you are initially informed by an information sign about the landscape and the fact that the tower rests on the border between two continents. As you walk up the tower the stairs take a twisting turn, and you are suddenly on the outside of the structure. The transition between inside and outside is reinforced by the outer layer of the structure. It is a drape consisting of steel rings which hangs on the outside of the tower. The drape is largely perforated in several spots giving the visitor an experience like the caves organic openings. In the middle of the tower there is a larger platform overlooking the North American continental plate. Here you are invited to rest before pushing the final stairs to the top. To the top viewing platform, you arrive from the outside giving the platform a maximum amount of space for visitors. Next to the tower there is a lower building resting on top of a steel tube structure. Its dimensions are similar to the inner structure of the tower. The building offers a small café, waiting area, toilets, office and storage. On top of the building solar energy plates and a windmill farms energy for the structure. One side of the building is almost entirely open with windows, whilst the other side has none. This service building is in contrary to the observation tower very rational in its appearance. This offers an interesting contrast and play between the two.