Camp Norðurljós Competition

Camp Norðurljós is a sojourn in northeast Iceland for watching the Northern Lights.  But it’s not for luxury tourists.  Instead, our design pares down the sky-gazing experience to its elemental essence.  Guests stay in one of ten movable pods, made of large concrete pipes, thickly insulated and lined with cork.  Guests enter their private pod through a metal end wall and pass between a densely packed mud room and toilet.  At the other end is a triple-glazed lens of low-iron glass, angled to provide an oversized view of the aurora.  In place of furniture, panels of tensioned netting serve as comfortable places to watch the sky, sleep, and enjoy the landscape in solitude.  Warmed by electric radiant heat, the cork lining of the curved interior itself serves as furniture.

The pods are tethered to the main house by unrolled boardwalks, which conceal flexible lines for water and geothermal electricity.  In contrast to the privacy of the pods, the main house is communal—and relatively lavish where the pods are spartan.  It houses the camp’s shared amenities (showers, saunas, kitchen, dining room, lounge, and reception) as well as the host family’s dwelling.  Half buried in an insulating berm, the main house has an intensive green roof that makes it a literal extension of the landscape.  The parking lot and horse stables are a short walk away.