by Jerry ElengicalNov 14, 2022
Famous for hosting iconic blue lagoons along with numerous hiking trails, the Suðurnes Peninsula or the Southern Peninsula, is probably one of Iceland's most recognisable destinations. Situated at the intersection of Europe and North America, it is home to the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark and houses Iceland's only operative airport. The area surrounding the airport is now being developed into a catalyst for the Icelandic economy, with a massive project, titled, K64—due to its proximity to the 64h parallel north—being designed to tap into the plentiful opportunities that the territory has to offer.
The winning team of the competition, organised by The Keflavik Airport Development Company (Kadeco), is led by KCAP, and comprises WSP, FELIXX, MIC-HUB, VSO Consulting, Buck Consultants International, Buro Happold, Base Design, Maurits Schaafsma, and Kanon Arkitektar. Together, this multidisciplinary crew has unveiled a masterplan for the K64 Keflavík Airport Area.
The masterplan focuses on Iceland’s progressive goals and has been designed keeping in mind the expansion of population and growth of technologies. However, beyond growth potential and transformation, it aims to achieve its goals sustainably.
The entire peninsula has been sectioned into different areas, with the Gateway to Iceland, or the Airport Forecourt, lying at the very heart of the peninsula. Lined with commercial and visitor amenities, it connects visitors to the Aðalgata area—which acts as the entry point to the city of Reykjanesbær and adjoins the Diamond Gate logistics hub to its west.
To the south of the airport is former NATO settlement, Ásbrú, a modern-day aviation village. With activities, research and development centres, start-up programmes, light industries, and densified residential architecture, Ásbrú almost acts as a self-sufficient campus. The Aðalgata area along with Ásbrú and the airport, becomes the heart of the peninsula.
To the far north of the airport is a cluster, called Helguvík, dedicated to eco-industrial development. The masterplan for the airport design aims to repurpose the existing port and manufacture infrastructure into a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) facility and construction hub, spearheading an energy transition in Iceland and beyond.
The various clusters across the peninsula are united by the landscape. Intentionally designed to be a giant park, the peninsula will not just be covered in controlled forestation, but will also have public outdoor facilities and cycling tracks. The landscape design is simple, effective, and maintains the natural terrain of Suðurnes Peninsula.
The masterplan also proposes increased connectivity within and outside the peninsula, with increased public transport offerings. A high-speed train connection will connect the peninsula to Reykjavík, making it a commuter-friendly destination for work or play.
The masterplan has been developed keeping in mind the importance of nursing the relationship between economics, population growth, employment opportunities, and sustainable development. However, finding a balance between all these aspects of development with underlying principles of sustainability can be complicated and overwhelming. "Working on the spatial and economic masterplan over the past year has been an incredible journey. We hope that the joy and inspiration we have experienced in collaborating as a team and with the many stakeholders translated into a robust plan for this ambitious long-term endeavour,” mentions Anouk Kuitenbrouwer, partner at KCAP, in an official release.