Stokkar og Steinar sf.




Skógafoss is one of the most visited tourist sites in Iceland: more than 7.000 visitors per day during high season. The 60-meter high waterfall is accessible from the ground, allowing visitors to be immersed in the power of nature just a few steps from their cars. Nevertheless, with the purpose of giving a more compelling touristic experience, a viewing platform was built at the top of the waterfall. The 527 steps made the upper part of the cataract a desirable challenge, opening the door to Skógaheiði, the fragile heathlands that escort the river of Skógaá and its numerous waterfalls and cascades. With the rapid and unexpected rise of visitors, this frangible area was heavily damaged during the last years, resulting in path that not longer looked as a path but much more like a mud pool, sometimes even up to 10-meter wide. The situation become so unmanageable that the Icelandic Environment Agency was forced to close the area during winter time this year.

A new trail was designed and built in response to these damages. There path was laid out in a way that could make the most out of the views the canyon offered, proposing that a more precise experience for the visitors meant it wouldn't be necessary to continuously step off the path for a better view.  This measure protects the fragile vegetation, giving the time and the space it needs to heal. Nevertheless, the natural deterioration was so profound that a large part of the building process was to restore the local vegetation, by reshaping the damaged landscape so it resembled the surrounding terrain. This intervention made possible to melt together a man-made construction with the natural ecosystem.