Lake Myvatn Greenhouse Restaurant

The majority of fruits and vegetables consumed in Iceland are imported from other countries at a considerable financial and environmental cost. Through the development of indoor farming in Iceland, fruits and vegetables are projected to decrease in cost, improve in quality, and become more reliable to consumers. Combining indoor farming with a restaurant educates the public on the benefits associated with indoor farming and results in memorable experiences for the guests.

The site for the Lake Myvatn Greenhouse Restaurant is on barren volcanic rock in one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations throughout the year. Visitors are drawn to the Lake Myvatn region for the viewing of the Northern Lights, migratory birds, astro-tourism, hiking, skiing, and soaking in the warm alkaline lagoons.

This design combines organic indoor farming with space to seat 100 guests, all with views of the Myvatn nature baths and Hverfjall volcano. A variety of flexible indoor spaces are provided to accommodate guests, tour groups, special events, and community gatherings. The indoor farming operations are scaled to facilitate the transition to vertical farming in response to consumer demand in Iceland.

Three tiers of the greenhouse and restaurant, in both plan and section, enhance the daylighting, facilitate vertical farming, and provide spatial variety for the guests to the restaurant. Greenhouse plant production straddles dining areas on multiple sides without blocking premium views to the south. An outdoor garden over the multi-purpose room enables seasonal plant propagation and viewing of the Northern Lights. An orangery on the upper level enables the production of citrus fruits in a semi-private dining environment.

The Lake Myvatn Greenhouse Restaurant is configured to optimize solar gain for passive heating and daylight for plant growth. Electricity is provided to the site from a nearby geothermal power plant. Low-temperature geothermal hot water is available for heating. All sanitation is to be managed on-site. Rainwater will be captured and stored for domestic and commercial use.

Noteworthy sustainable design features include:

  • A biodigester system that transforms plant stock remnants from greenhouse operations, discarded restaurant food, and human waste from the restrooms for the generation of methane gas to generate on-site electricity and an abundance of compost.
  • Sun-tracking motorized blinds to manage glare for the patrons, optimize sunlight for the plants, insulate the interior during the darker winter months, and contribute to Dark Sky criteria for nocturnal bird migration and astro-tourism.
  • Rainwater and gray water collection for plant production and restaurant use.
  • UV-patterned “Bird-Safe” glass utilized for bird collision deterrence.
  • Carbon-neutral energy, “net zero” waste and self-sufficient water.
  • Aesthetics derived from natural features in this region of Iceland.