It’s interesting to me when one culture borrows from another culture, and in this case, someone borrowing from a classic American concept: the convenience store. Designed by KRADS, an architectural studio based in Denmark and Iceland, this “roadside stop” as they call it is essentially trying to outdo what’s come before.
“Stöðin”, a roadside stop in the Icelandic countryside, is a conjoined restaurant, drive-through, convenience store and gas station. Icelandic culture is in many ways shaped by American influences due to the 65-year long presence of an American army base in the country. Stöðin addresses this cultural relationship by incorporating architectural elements from the American diner that contrast the traditional Icelandic building method of in situ cast concrete. The exposed concrete of the exterior bestows the diner with a permanence unknown by its American counterparts creating a friction between its streamlined aesthetics and the rustic materiality’s gravity. An elongated bar-desk transforms into seating arrangements and characterizes the semicircular restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the scenic fjord Borgarfjörður.
I mean, they’re getting a little catty there, am I right? American architects certainly understand the value of permanence. But they’re right to an extent, you’d never see a 7-11 or an AM/PM that looks this good. Especially made with rounded, sculpted concrete like this one is. It’s also lovely how the use of yellow really does make the space feel warmer and more inviting. The yellow could also be a byproduct of being owned and run by Skeljungur, the Icelandic branch of Shell. I’ll try to keep a positive outlook on the project and say that I saw this roadside stop out in the middle of nowhere I’d be pretty excited, especially with a view like that.