bragð - a taste of Iceland

Name
Kine Fagerheim
Education degree
Master
School
School of Architecture
Study programme
Architecture and Extreme Environments
Year
2015

In our everyday life we live distant from what our lives are made of; The origin of life itself. Nature. We are distant from the fact that the ground our city stands on, is nature too. The stones that our walls are built of, the water that runs in our kitchens, the heat in our ovens and the cold in our refrigerators. 

As Andy Goldsworthy ones wrote "We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say we have lost our connection to nature, we have lost our connection to ourselves."

How can architecture inspire to an awareness with deeper roots in nature? 

With my project I wanted to challenge the confined borders of our food culture. By investigating how we can use nature in the preparation and enjoyment of food. How we can use ingredients that we find in the landscape, and how we can use the forces in the landscape to prepare it. I have developed a conceptual restaurant on Iceland. Where the guests spend a whole day in nature hiking along the hot springs of the valley Reykjadalur. Where architectural installations indicates places to rest and places to prepare food. 

This is a journey through a 6km long restaurant in the Icelandic landscape. 

 

TASTES OF THE LATE SUMMER LANDSCAPE

The market building

It is late summer. The farmers are slowly preparing for the autumn harvest. The summers bloom has become berries. The air is filled with the smell of herbs and mushrooms. It’s early morning, and the dew sparkles in the rising sun. You walk through the town of Hveragerði towards the park at the end of the main road. You've been asked to bring with you clothes for any type of weather, a sleeping bag, your own cutlery and a bucket.

From afar the market building appears as more landscape than building. But as you come closer and the path turns towards the entrance, you can see that it is the roof that stretches towards the ground picking up the green grass.  People have already started to gather outside the building. Some are leaning up against a niche in the east wall, enjoying the morning sun and the company of each other. Others are lying on the tilted turf roof. 

One of the local farmers gathers everyone to start the day. He tells the story of his sheep farm. The gravel from the track continues inside the building. The building frames a selection of the sky and the landscape. The narrow selection of the nature gives it an almost abstract character, guiding you towards it. 

The buildings core is elevated from the rest. Here you are served tastings of the farmers products made from sheep milk. The farmer together with a local plant expert from the Agricultural University of Iceland and one of the local restaurants’ chefs, is guiding you on this journey of tastes thought the Icelandic late summer landscape.

When you leave the market building the framed landscape opens up to you, and the first view is also your last view.

The Market Building

From the marked building you walk up along the river Varmá, while the plant expert explains the floral history of the area. You are all asked to pick herbs and plants along the way that you think are eatable.

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The Slaughter bench

From the path you se a sharp trail of blood that runs in a strait line down the undulating hill. You follow the red line with you eyes and it ends in something that almost looks like a natural rock. But as you come closer you discover that the rock has an entrance. As if the rock has exploded into pieces, leaving a perfect flat and polished surface on the inside.

This is the stage where you experience the ritual of slaughtering. Every piece of the lamb is carefully parted. 

The Slaughter bench

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The Boiling Point

You bring the freshly butchered meat of the lamb over to the boiling point. An elevated pathway guides you trough the steam. From the edge you lower the sealed food in to the boiling water. Here you use the hot springs to sous vide your meal. A technique where you seal the food in a watertight bag and you let it cook for a longer time. Preserving all the tastes and nutritions of the food.  

The boiling Point

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The table

You can see it from afar. The wooden roof looks alien and natural at the same time. In a straight line it cuts through the landscape. Here, sheltered from the wind and the rain, you have time to enjoy the craftsmanship of the meal. A countertop of wood stretches through the length of the room, and you gather around it. Different blending bowls are immersed in the countertop, where you stir together the ingredients for the dessert. You are making berry skyr cake with a biscuit crumble bottom, made from the different berries you’ve found in nature that day. On the edge of the space, several massive benches are placed. A cooperation is needed when three and three helps each other to move them closer to the table. It is time for dessert.

The table

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Sleep

The skyr cake is long gone, when you leave the few that are left around the table. It’s been a long day. 

Your sleeping shelter draws a line into the earth. standing strong to hold off the wight of the mountain. Inside the walls are raw as the landscape, but a soft plateau of wood invites you to lay out your sleeping mat.  

The temperature is falling with the fading of the light, but the sky is clear and the wind is silent. So you leave the shutters open. Sitting in your sleeping bag you look back down the valley where you came from, digesting the day in your mind. When the dusk turns to darkness you lay down on you back, and the last thing you se before you close your eyes, is the slight flickering of the green Northern light.   

Sleep

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FIELDWORK ICELAND

On a field trip to Iceland I brought with me a kitchen consisting of different pieces that could be arranged in a variation of compounds. Contrary to how the resources are within our immediate reach in the modern kitchen, this kitchen extends towards the resource that it needs. It imitates a plants growth. How the roots of the plant branches out in the earth to get enough water and nutrition, and how it‘s leafs reach towards the sky to get sunlight. And where the kitchen can’t reach, the body moves as an extension. 

 

Device

The device was placed in a geothermal area, to bake bread. It was branching out for water, guiding the water towards the hot earth where the bowl was placed. Here the flour, the grains and the blueberries where blended with the water. From there it branched out towards the hot earth where the bread was buried just a few centimeters under the earth. It reached close to 90 °C. The bread baked in the earth over night, and in the morning after 12 hours, I had freshly baked bread. By bringing the food process to the landscape, the act of preparing a meal was slowed down.

Baking of the bread

Thesis program