The Wonder of “Under”: Dining in the Deep
Snøhetta, the Norwegian firm of architects, is designing Europe’s first underwater restaurant, which will be planted right on the seabed. “Under” is scheduled to open in 2019.
Eat a delicious dinner, gaze out of the window – and see shoals of fish swimming past. A dream that is now coming true in Norway. The team of Norway’s Snøhetta architects has designed Europe’s first underwater restaurant, which will be planted on the seabed. Construction at Båly at the southernmost tip of the Norwegian coast is all set to start in 2018, with completion scheduled for the following year. Five meters beneath the surface of the sea, meter-thick concrete walls will withstand the hydrostatic pressure. The complex already bears the fitting name of “Under” – a word which doubles up as “wonder” in Norwegian. The strategy also takes in its patrons’ route to the restaurant, with an information path revealing intriguing facts about marine biodiversity and the Norwegian coast. Inside, the rooms are spread over three levels, offering space for 80 to 100 guests. The biggest attraction for visitors will be an 11 x 4 meter acrylic panoramic window through which not only fishes, but also, with a little luck, smaller species of whale can be viewed.
But Under aims to be far more than a restaurant beneath the waves – the design is conceived of as a periscope to a hidden fascinating world. The subaquatic building is intended to blend naturally into its environment – above the water on the wild rocky shore just as beneath the sea’s surface. The environment is an important theme for the architects, as they not only aim to minimize the impact of the design and the materials used on the environment, but they also want Under become home to a number of marine organisms. The concrete envelope with its rough surface is a veritable invitation to mollusks, for example, to colonize here. After the restaurant’s official opening, marine biologists are invited to conduct research projects. From here, Norwegian scientists, for example, are planning to train wild fish with acoustic signals to find out whether their behavior changes in the course of the seasons. It is hoped that researchers will also help to optimize the conditions around the restaurant so that it harmonizes with its surroundings in the deep.