Iceland Black Lava Fields Visitor Center

Submission: November 19, 2019
RegistrationJune 18, 2019
Language: English
Location: Iceland
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open


Iceland’s volcanic landscapes are captivating and enchanting, with many filled with mythological stories, and the black lava fields in the north of the country are no exception. The Dimmuborgir site near Mývatn Lake takes its name from the Icelandic word for Dark Castles or Dark Cities, and was formed some 2,300 years ago by a massive eruption that created the unique features and bleak landscape.
The eerie rock formations were once said to be the home of a murderous troll named Grýla, her husband, and her sons The Yule Lads. Originally in Icelandic folklore these Yule Lads came to take on the role of Santa Claus, leaving gifts for children who were well behaved, and rotten potatoes for those that were not. As Christianity became popular in Iceland the site was thought to be where Satan landed after being tossed out of Heaven.

Dimmuborgir is one of the region’s most popular tourism spots, with thousands of tourists visiting the black lava fields every year. There is currently a simple visitor center constructed from container modules offering basic food & drink options and a gift shop. With the Iceland Black Lava Fields Visitor Center architecture competition, Soil Conservation Service Of Iceland is looking to reinvent their on-site facilities and create an innovative structure that will act as the face of this incredible tourist attraction.

Participants are tasked with designing a structure that is both welcoming and in keeping with the exotic and mysterious nature of the landscape. In terms of functionality, the new facilities can remain much the same, providing basic amenities such as a small cafe, souvenir shop and information center.

The highly sensitive nature of the surrounding environment would require all designs to exercise sustainable construction practices, while at the same time having the potential to become an iconic landmark that is synonymous with black lava fields. In cooperation with Soil Conservation Service Of Iceland, winning projects will be put forward for consideration for construction.


3 winning proposals and 6 honourable mentions will be selected. Bee Breeders will award a total of US $6,000  in prize money to competition winners as follows:

1st Prize – US $3,000
2nd Prize – US $1,500
3rd Prize – US $500
+ 6 honourable mentions

BB Student Award – US $500
BB Green Award – US $500


Early Bird Registration: MAY 16 – JUNE 18
Advance Registration: JUNE 19 – JULY 23
Last Minute Registration: JULY 24 – OCTOBER 22

Closing date for registration: OCTOBER 22, 2019
Closing date for submission: NOVEMBER 19, 2019 (11.59pm GMT)
Announcement of the winners: DECEMBER 11, 2019

Go to the competition’s website