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The icy blue gemstone

Photos: Utopia Arkitekter

This article appeared in colore 20#skyblue

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Anyone who has been for a hiking vacation on Iceland has learned a new meaning to the word ‘changeable’. Dramatic storms can suddenly sweep out of nowhere and put outdoors adventurers in serious danger. Swedish architects came up with an idea for emergency shelter for such situations; it’s easy to transport, quick to construct, and as if that weren’t enough, beautiful.

 “Skýli” – meaning protection – is the apt name for the mobile accommodation designed by Stockholm-based architectural firm Utopia Arkitekter, for use in remote places along Iceland’s most popular hiking routes.

The building doesn’t just resist the toughest weather conditions, it also has remarkable aesthetic appeal. Four pyramids come together to form a durable, stable structure, which offers both a unique appearance as well being highly visible in the landscape. It stands out like an icy blue gemstone in the surrounding countryside.

But further inspirations lay behind the shape. The triangular gables are reminiscent of the traditional tent shape used by outdoor lovers across the globe, as well as the roof structures of traditional Icelandic huts. A globally recognized shape was chosen, as well as one that echoes local constructions.

 

Utopia Arkitekter

 
The refuge huts consist of four, tent-like gabled roofs.
But the facade is actually made of steel.
And it is highly visible, thanks to its light blue shade.

The steel exterior of the refuge is painted light blue – reminiscent of the Nordic light and at the same time, a strong, signal color. It ensures that the hut is highly visible while also invoking the colorful residential architecture of Reykjavik.

Large windows create transparency and offer views across the spectacular Icelandic landscape There are two entrances so that one of the two doors is always well protected against the wind.

 

The minimalist interior design is functional yet welcoming. The wood-clad interior has space for 15 fold-out beds; there is water, electricity, and emergency supplies. Skýli has become the blue symbol for safety and security in any weather.

  • <p>The wood-clad interior has space for 15 fold-out beds; there is water, electricity, and emergency supplies.</p>

    The wood-clad interior has space for 15 fold-out beds; there is water, electricity, and emergency supplies.

  • <p>Each peaked roof houses huge windows, with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.</p>

    Each peaked roof houses huge windows, with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

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