Akureyri’s city council commissioned Kollgata Arkitektur to create a café for the gardens to celebrate the city’s 150th anniversary as well as the garden’s 100th anniversary. The Botanical Gardens were to be the main attraction while the cafe provided services and offered a spot for visitors to enjoy the view. Already in the gardens were two small buildings, one of which was one of the oldest structures in the city, so the new cafe had to respect the historic architecture as well. Inspiration for the cafe’s form came from these historic buildings, and it seeks to maintain the original atmosphere they created.
Kollgata Arkitektur looked to locally-sourced materials that were tried and true in the climate and reduced environmental impact. Sustainable design played a strong role in the building’s design as a way to minimize impact on the surrounding gardens. The building’s simple volume is accentuated by large glazings on either side that let in ample natural daylighting and provide views into the garden. Both sides feature a framing scheme that resembles branches of a tree and the building’s envelope is tight and heavily insulated to minimize energy losses. Wood paneling on the interior gives a warm glow and brings nature indoors. Exterior patio space allows visitors to enjoy food and drink while in the gardens.
Images ©Helga Kvam