30 Aug 2023
Ring of Bjólfur is a ring-shaped viewing platform on the slopes of Mount Bjólfur, 650 m over sea level. The platform overlooks Seydisfjordur, a narrow fjord with steep mountains in East Iceland. The simple concrete structure sits on top of the rugged landscape and hovers over the edge offering a spectacular view over the fjord and to the Atlantic Ocean.
The ring has a diameter of 32 meters, with a walkway and bench spanning the entire 100 m circumference. The 360° experience leads the visitors to explore the views of the mountains around, the town, the valley, and the peak of the mountain above. The slightly sloping ring structure is wheelchair accessible.
Silver Colour Palette
The ring is constructed of concrete, with an inner railing of local larch and an outer railing of slim stainless-steel posts. The three materials display a range of silver-grey colour tones: with the silver patina of the larch, the glittering reflection of the steel, and the tones of the exposed concrete changing with the weather. An important factor in the material selection is robustness and minimal maintenance, due to the harsh weather conditions and remote location. The sharp silver colour palette is in nice contrast with the brown tones of the rocky landscape it sits on.
A Viking Ring
Mount Bjólfur is named after the Viking Bjólfur who first settled in Seydisfjordur. Vikings were buried with their most precious belongings, jewellery, and weapons. It is believed that Bjólfur was buried high up in the mountain; therefore the ring-shaped structure symbolises a precious silver ring belonging to Bjólfur, the forefather of the people of the fjord.
The structure sits on top of the landscape in two places and cantilevers over the edge of the mountain. The load-bearing quality of the closed circle is very efficient; therefore the structure is anchored only in four points.
Construction of the Ring will begin this fall and is expected to finish in fall 2024.
The elevation of the construction site is a challenge, with unpredictable weather conditions and steep road passes, therefore every detail of the construction process is planned.
Official Project Name: Ring of Bjólfur
Location: Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Client: Múlaþing Municipality
Budget: ISK 190 million
Architects: Esja Architecture & Arkibygg Arkitektar
Landscape Architects: ANNA Landslagsarkitekt & Kjartan Mogensen
Engineers: AXA Nordic
The project is carried through in a cross-disciplinary collaboration between architects, landscape architects, and structural engineers, from concept through to construction.
Ring of Bjólfur was the winning proposal in a prequalified competition issued by the municipality in 2021. Seydisfjordur is known for its vibrant art scene, food culture and annual art and music festival. Seydisfjordur is also known for having the only ferry connection from Iceland to mainland Europe.