A new concept design for a boutique hotel at one of Norway's most famous landmarks has won widespread praise on the Internet, especially for the insane glass-bottom pool jutting out from the cliff nearly 2,000 feet above the fjord below.
Hayri Atak Studio Designs the Most Insane Pool Yet
Extreme pools are having a bit of a moment, but the pool incorporated into the boutique hotel concept design by Hayri Atak of Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio takes extreme pools to, well, the extreme.
Built into Norway's renown Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, Atak's 'Cliff Concept Boutique Hotel' envisions a five-tiered structure built into the rockface of the cliff itself, with oval balconies extending out over the fjord below at each level of the hotel. The entrance to the hotel would be located on the roof--which doubles as a viewing deck--and the interior of the hotel would presumably be carved out of the rock below.
"Pulpit rock has been one of the most exciting places for me through the years," architect Hayri Atak wrote in a statement to Interesting Engineering, which I've lightly edited for clarity.
"One day a friend of mine sent me photos of 'The Rock' she captured during her Norway trip. The photos were taken right behind the edge," he said. "Even though I wasn’t there, I experienced the adrenaline of being on the edge. Then, I dreamed of living on or beyond the edge.
"Simply, I just wanted to carry this experience beyond the edge."
The design of the hotel is evocative, to say the least, and I asked Atak where the inspiration for the design came from. "Sometimes, there are some places or topics that excite me and spark my imagination. I dream about them and sometimes work them into a design. It could be a chair, a small space, or an entire building and environment."
Atak said the designs found in the world help him to brainstorm his own ideas and help challenge his creativity, to stretch it further into new terrain.
"I like to call it 'What-if' brainstorming. What if there is something like [what I imagine] somewhere in this universe? The design is an attempt to answer this question in a particular place. So, we should consider the design as a sketch of what that answer might be."
The lowest level of Atak's design though is the real show-stopper, and encapsulates this idea of trying to answer the what-if of Preikestolen, 'what if you went beyond the edge?'
Extending farther than any other platform, the lowest deck of the design features a common area for guests with the usual chairs and loungers you'd find at any upscale hotel. That said, you'd be forgiven for forgetting about those when you see the infinity pool reaching twenty to thirty feet or so from the end of the deck.
"The pool was the one and only design element of the project at the beginning," Atak said. "A pool hanging under the cliff by itself scared me. The hotel structure that bends over the fjord is sort of 'protecting' the pool.
"The hotel can be considered a part or an extension of the cliff, but I thought that experiencing something 'beyond the edge' was much more thrilling in a pool rather than on a balcony."
Supported by cables attached to the top of the cliff, the infinity pool is made from glass on each side and on the bottom, giving an unobstructed view nearly two thousand feet to the waters of the Lysefjorden below.
"If the pool really existed, I would hope that people experienced not only the thrill of it but different emotions as well," Atak said.
"Experiences in a place can’t be designed in a stated pattern. It should be personal, varied based on expectations, dreams, backgrounds, and even love. For example, someone could find poetry in the moment while another could be overcoming a phobia."
I asked Atak what he thought he might feel swimming in the pool he designed.
"In that case, if I could experience the pool, I would feel like a dolphin, striking out towards infinity in the sky; and I think I'd feel peaceful."
Glass-bottomed architecture at great height isn't new, but it has also been something that people have very strong reactions to. I asked Atak what he thought made glass-bottomed architecture resonate with people the way it does.
"Engineering calculations and evaluations would carry the design to different dimensions, but ultimately, that’s not the point of my design. As I mentioned it is a conceptual sketch. I think that these kinds of structures provide different experiences to people and the number of them should increase as long as they are safe," Atak said.
"What's so interesting about them is that while they are completely safe, when we are there they make us feel the opposite, we feel unsafe. Although they are not for everyone--especially considering health conditions--I would want whoever is looking for such an experience to have it."
Preikestolen Is Famous for a Reason
The setting for the concept is one of the most trafficked tourist sights in Norway. Located in the municipality of Forsand, Rogaland county, Preikestolen rises 1,982 feet above the Lysefjorden inlet. Carved out eons ago by a glacier, Lysefjorden is naturally breath-taking, which makes Preikestolen that much more incredible.
Shaped like a church pulpit, hence the name, Preikestolen's top is a nearly flat, about 80 feet by 80 feet, and offers a unique view of the fjord it stands beside, towering over the opposite bank and giving visitors a magnificent vista of the Norwegian landscape.
Obviously, the extraordinary natural beauty of the landscape makes it worth preserving as it is, and cutting up the Preikestolen to install an 11 to 12 room boutique hotel is the kind of thing that would send native Norwegians into an ancestral Viking blood-frenzy, and rightfully so. But the Concept Cliff Boutique Hotel design by Hayri Atak is a gorgeous concept design, and while the Preikestolen might not be available, certainly other sites could incorporate this kind of architecture in the future.