"On a day of rough sea, you can feel a hint of fresh, salty ocean spray against your face as you enter the restaurant," said Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen of their latest design project. Lead architects from Norweigan firm Snøhetta, the studio has been responsible for a number of waterside buildings including the Oslo Opera House, but this project marks its first foray into underwater architecture. And not only will Under house a restaurant, but will also serve as a research center for marine life.
Situated at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline by the village of Båly, the building breaks through the water’s surface to lie against the craggy shoreline, and resting directly on the seabed, five meters below the water’s surface, it will become part of the marine environment – the coarse surface of its concrete shell has been designed to attract a mussel colony, which will ultimately create an artificial reef to attract more marine life.
Meter-thick concrete walls will ensure the structure can withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions, and panoramic windows will offer diners a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and with the varying weather conditions.
The restaurant, which can accommodate between 80 and 100 diners, has been designed across three levels. After entering the lobby at the shoreline, guests will be escorted down to the ocean level champagne bar, and the lowest level houses the restaurant with views of the aquatic life on the seabed. The chosen color palette has been inspired by the coastline and the subdued shades of shells, rocks and sand, as well as the darker blues and greens of the seabed. And materials have not only been selected for their aesthetic qualities, but also for their sustainable characteristics.
Keen for guests to enjoy an educationaI as well as a dining experience, information plaques will be mounted along the walls leading to the restaurant entrance to tell the story of marine biodiversity and the Norwegian coastline.
Under is slated to open in 2018.