For millions of years, powerful natural elements such as water, ice, black sand and molten rock have shaped Iceland into a country renowned for its rugged beauty. Yet today an additional, man-made power is sculpting the landscape: aluminium smelters. New, massive dams mark their arrival. These harness enough hydro-energy to supply the smelters with the vast amounts needed to keep the plants in operation. Despite the ever-increasing imprint on Iceland’s economy and the environment, all of the aluminium produced here is directly shipped away for further treatment elsewhere, and so the entire process remains largely invisible to the local population. Garðar Eyjólfsson rose to the challenge of making the industry tangible and reconnecting it with the surroundings. His solution? Building an aluminium bridge over the very waters that feed the plant with energy. But his Hydro Morphosis concept goes further. By incorporating a heat pump and hydro-electric turbine, the bridge attracts a layer of ice that grows and shrinks, depending on fluctuations in temperature and humidity. In this way, the ice bridge enters into a constant dialogue with its context. “It’s a functional link between man and nature — a bridge over the water that creates the bridge and a mirror of the culture and the country,” Eyjólfsson explains.
© Design Academy Eindhoven