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Icelandic bothy contest open for entries

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An open international design competition has been launched for a series of remote hiking refuges in Iceland

Open to everyone, the anonymous contest seeks ‘innovative and exciting’ proposals for iconic low-cost and off-the-grid structures that could be replicated across the country’s many hiking trails.

The Iceland Trekking Cabins project, backed by CDS NORD Property Developers, aims to boost trekking tourism by opening up inaccessible parts of the country and providing safe shelter for adventurers.

There is no fixed budget or site, but entries must be able to withstand extreme weather conditions and be sensitive to local architectural styles. At least one winning design will be constructed in a yet-to-confirmed location within the next two years.

The brief reads: ‘Participants are tasked with creating clever and inventive designs for the trekking cabin that can be duplicated in all sorts of terrain, and help improve access to harder to reach areas of this incredible country.

‘The Iceland Trekking Cabins must be representative of Iceland’s identity, with a design aesthetic that could become an icon on its own. Its purpose is to provide safe, comfortable and inviting lodgings, where trekkers and their guides can rest, refuel and, if necessary, wait out troublesome weather.’

The rugged landscape of the volcanically active, mid-Atlantic island includes various hot springs, lava fields, mountains and glaciers.

Conceptual proposals must accommodate 20 hikers and their equipment for at least one week in all weathers. Structures must be environmentally responsible, resource efficient and be able to generate electricity and safe drinking water.

The cabins – intended for non-permafrost, remote high-altitude locations with no road access – may exceed the design brief and also harness alternative development strategies if required.

Digital submissions may include up to four A2-sized landscape presentation boards featuring plans, perspectives, technical details and visualisations.

PK Arkitektar won a contest for a series of zero carbon vacation cottages, harnessing geothermal hydro energy and featuring hot-tubs, concrete bases and timber panel exteriors – in Iceland four years ago.

The competition is organised by Bee Breeders, which launched in 2011 and has organised various high-profile ideas competitions including one for a portable ‘Charlie Hebdo’ pavilion in Paris.

The winning team – set to be announced on 31 August – will receive a £2,200 top prize. A second place prize of £1,100, third place prize of £370 and six honourable mentions will also be awarded.

The registration deadline is 27 July and submissions must be received by 11:59 GMT on 17 August.

How to Apply

Visit the competition website for more information


Early bird registration from April 27 to June 1: $90 USD for professionals / $70 USD for students
Advance registration from June 2 to June 29: $ 120 USD for professionals / $100 USD for students
Last minute registration from June 30 to July 27: $140 USD for professionals / $120 USD for students

Contact details

Email: hello@beebreeders.com

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