One of our very favourite architectural firms on the planet, Snøhetta has finally opened its door to Under, the “world’s largest underwater restaurant”, which plunges from a craggy shoreline in the remote village of Båly, Norway – the southernmost tip of the Norwegian coastline. And it’s quite something…
Designed by Snøhetta to resemble a sunken periscope, the 495-square-metre concrete monolith Under restaurant is characterised by its huge panoramic window that offers guests views of marine life. Europe’s first underwater restaurant will seat up to 40 people and will also be used as a marine research centre out of service hours.
Under was designed to be as simple as possible and thus takes the form of a monolithic concrete tube that measures in at 34 metres long. The walls are slightly curved and are half-a-metre thick to ensure it offers maximum resistance against the crashing waves and water pressure of the ocean.
The concrete itself has been left with an exposed – and for good reason. Not only will the rugged texture encourage algae and molluscs to cling on, over time it’s expected Under will create an artificial mussel reef that helps purify the water, in turn attracting more marine life.
The restaurant has three levels joined by a giant oak staircase; on the top is a foyer and cloakroom, a champagne bar can be found on the middle, and the main restaurant is on the lower floor. The focal point of the restaurant is its panoramic 11m x 3m acrylic window, which can be seen from each level of the building.
Out of hours, Under will double as a laboratory for marine biologists to study the behaviour fish; specifically their reactions to light, whether it is possible to train wild fish with sounds, and also whether fish act differently in different seasons.
Images 2 & 6 by Inger Marie Grini/Bo Bedre Norge
Early last year, Snøhetta unveiled plans for the staggeringly gorgeous Svart Hotel. Floating at the foot of the Svartisen Glacier above the Arctic Circle in Norway, Svart will be the northernmost ‘Powerhouse’ hotel in world.