Kaffihus Hringur: A Sustainable Coffee Shop Inspired by Hverfjall Crater

A Unique Respite for Hikers on the Icelandic Landscape

The Hverfjall Crater trek is a microcosm of the Icelandic experience, offering a breathtaking, panoramic landscape. Our coffee shop was inspired by the form and experience of the tuff cone volcano, functioning as a rest stop for weary hikers before and after their pilgrimage up to the crater's edge. The circular form reflects the circumambulation of the crater, while the inward-facing pitch roof pays homage to the volcano's form.

The Kaffihus Hringur coffee shop, designed by Yuting Zhang, is a unique and sustainable addition to the Hverfjall Crater in Iceland. This circular building features an open courtyard and four quadrants that house a coffee shop, restrooms, exhibition space, and a covered observation terrace. The structure employs a modular wood frame and incorporates sustainable features such as geothermal heat pumps, triple-pane glass, and rainwater capture.

One of the key strengths of this design is its minimal staffing and off-grid operation. The coffee shop is designed to operate with little maintenance, offering a holistic storytelling experience that complements the Hverfjall hike. Visitors can enjoy a comprehensive sensory experience, from the warm, wood-toned interior to the stunning views of Lake Myvatn.

The coffee shop's interaction with visitors is centered around an open courtyard, which features an Icelandic garden and views of a distant volcano. Divided into four quadrants, the building provides a coffee shop, restrooms, exhibition space, and a covered observation terrace. Visitors can enter the structure at an open corner and move left to use the restrooms and seating or right to enter the coffee house. The coffee shop itself features an elegant coffee bar and offers hikers a place to relax with hot coffee and light snacks while enjoying the garden views. The exhibit space tells the story of the site's geology, and visitors can exit onto the covered terrace for expansive views of Lake Myvatn and its surroundings.

The Kaffihus Hringur coffee shop is not only a visually stunning addition to the Hverfjall Crater, but it also incorporates sustainable technologies and locally sourced materials. The modular wood frame structure is clad in charred, dark gray cedar, which relates to the black basalt grounds of the site. Inside, warm, exposed cedar is juxtaposed with rough stone furnishings and copper-toned metal highlights. The coffee shop utilizes underground geothermal heat pumps for its electric and heating needs, low-E triple-pane glass for energy efficiency, and rainwater capture for storage and use. Dry composting toilets and the use of used coffee grounds for fertilizer further contribute to the coffee shop's sustainability.

The Kaffihus Hringur coffee shop project started in March 2022 in Iceland, and it has received recognition for its innovative design. It was awarded the Bronze A' Design Award in the Architecture, Building, and Structure Design category in 2023. This award recognizes designs that exhibit strong technical and creative skills and contribute to quality of life improvements. The Kaffihus Hringur coffee shop stands as a testament to the fusion of art, science, design, and technology, offering a unique and memorable experience for visitors.

With its sustainable features, stunning design, and comprehensive sensory experience, the Kaffihus Hringur coffee shop is a must-visit destination for hikers exploring the Hverfjall Crater. It not only provides a respite for weary adventurers but also showcases the beauty and sustainability of Icelandic design.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Yuting Zhang
Image Credits: Yuting Zhang & Edbert Cheng
Project Team Members: Yuting Zhang
Project Name: Kaffihus Hringur
Project Client: Yuting Zhang

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