Skriðuklaustur visitor centre

Located in southeast Iceland's 12,000 km² Vatnajökull National Park, the Skriðuklaustur visitor centre serves both as a display and conference centre. Vatnajökull National Park occupies about 12% of Iceland's total landmass and is Europe's largest national park.

EFLA was commissioned to provide a range of services relating to the design of a critical range of systems used in the visitor centre's structure. 

About this Project

Government Construction Contracting Agency

Arkís architects, Landark landscape architects 


Fljótsdalshérað, East Iceland


The project's objective

As part of the BREEAM assessment process, the objective of the building's design was to minimize the life cycle cost (LCC). The LCC of the building materials played a decisive role in their selection, along with high standards of endurance and low maintenance. These also included environmental management during construction and operation, waste management during construction and operation, efficient energy and water use, the use of environmentally friendly building materials, efficient use of land and the environment, environmentally friendly transportation to and from the site, minimisation of pollution generated by the building, and ensuring the health and wellbeing of its users by optimising acoustics, air quality and lighting.

At approximately 740 m2 size, the building is one level with a basement. The foundation and slab on grade are cast-in-place concrete, but the structural system above is divided into two parts. The exterior walls and roof of the lower building are constructed of cast-in-place visual concrete with some timber cladding on the outside. The roof is an inverted structure with grass on top. The higher building has exterior timber walls and a roof of prefabricated sandwich panels. Analytic design ensured fire safety.

The exterior walls and roof of the higher building have copper cladding.

Most of the building has natural ventilation but the toilets and intake rooms have mechanical ventilation. It also has a sanitary system, drainage system and a water sprinkler system for the grass roof.

Environmental issues

This was the first Icelandic building to be certified environmental and sustainable according to the British BREEAM environmental assessment method. 

EFLA's role

  • Consultation on environmental design and BREEAM assessment, in association with Mott MacDonald
  • Environmental assessment of different building materials for use in external and internal walls, roofs, cladding and landscaping materials in accordance with BREEAM standards
  • Structural design
  • Sanitary system design
  • Heating system design
  • Drainage system design
  • Ventilation system design
  • Water sprinkler system design
  • Fire safety design
  • Acoustic design