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Ring of Bjólfur viewpoint in Iceland by Esja Architecture

Cantilevered Ring of Bjólfur viewpoint to overlook Icelandic fjord

Architecture studios Esja Architecture and Arkibygg Arkitektar have designed a ring-shaped viewpoint that will sit 650 metres up the slopes of Mount Bjólfur and overlook a fjord in the east of Iceland.

The viewpoint is designed to give views across the landscape surrounding the town of Seydisfjordur while also being a distinctive piece of architecture.

"The viewing platform is there to frame the view, but should be a destination in its own right," said Esja Architecture founder Audur Hreidarsdottir.

"The most obvious view visitors are there to see is down the fjord and to the ocean."

Ring of Bjólfur viewpoint in Iceland by Esja Architecture
Ring of Bjólfur is a viewpoint designed for Iceland by Esja Architecture

Named after a Viking ring owned by Bjólfur, who was the first settler of the fjord, the viewpoint has a circular shape to allow visitors to see the 360-degree views.

"The view is striking in all directions: to the steep mountains around, the narrow valley, endless waterfalls, and the beautiful town," explained Hreidarsdottir.

"The round platform guides the visitors through a 360-degree experience, travelling slowly in a circle, taking in the different views on the way," she continued.

"The continuous bench spanning the entire inner circle invites travellers to sit down wherever they are inspired, just like pausing on a museum bench to take in a particular piece of art."

Aerial view of Ring of Bjólfur
It will sit on the slopes of Mount Bjólfu

Set to have a diameter of 32 metres, the concrete walkway will rest on the landscape with a cantilever over the edge of the mountain. It will be anchored to the ground in four places.

An inbuilt bench will span the inside of the entire 100-metre structure while banisters will be made from local larch and stainless-steel posts.

The structure is set to be built in 2024.

"The road up there is only open during the summer, and even then the conditions can vary, with snow, hail, rain and strong winds," said Hreidarsdottir.

"Therefore the construction has to be made in a short window of time. Fortunately, there are amazing contractors in the area that have built in the most intense terrains and weathers. So, we are positive and excited to see the construction process through."

Hreidarsdottir hopes that visitors to the structure will be "amazed".

"It can be incredibly freeing to stand on a mountaintop and see the world from another perspective," she said.

"The most impressive view is on the part of the ring that cantilevers over the edge, adding a little bit of theatrics. The best part is that you cannot see the entire view until you are all the way on the mountain edge, so it is quite a reward after making the journey to the top."

Other viewpoints recently published on Dezeen include a treetop walkway that is accessible to "all nature lovers" in Norway and a shingle-clad viewing tower on mountain peak in Austria.

Project credits:

Architect: Esja Architecture and Arkibygg Arkitektar
Landscape architects: ANNA Landslagsarkitekt & Kjartan Mogensen
Engineer: EXA Nordic

More images and plans

Ring of Bjólfur viewpoint in Iceland by Esja Architecture
Ring of Bjólfur viewpoint in Iceland by Esja Architecture
Site plan