Architecture practice Snøhetta has released images of its design for Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant in Lindesnes, Norway. Due to start construction in February 2018, the concrete cuboid appears half-submerged like a monolithic shipwreck off the country’s southernmost point, leaning into the sea to allow diners a view of the aquatic life below.
The designers hope that the building’s aesthetic among the rocky surroundings means it will become part of the environment. The surface of the streamlined concrete form is coarse, to encourage mussels to cling on, as the architects aim to create an artificial mussel reef that purifies the water and attracts more sea life.
The building will also function as a research centre for marine biology outside of restaurant opening hours, and researchers will help to optimise conditions for fish and shellfish in proximity to the structure.
It rests five metres below the water surface and has metre-thick concrete walls and an acrylic window to withstand the pressure and shock of the tide. The entrance is clad in untreated oak that will weather to a grey colour to fit with the concrete and surroundings. Inside there will be three levels descending to the dining area, with a dark blue and green interior to blend with surroundings.
Snøhetta said in a statement: “Through its architecture, menu and mission of informing the public about the biodiversity of the sea, Under will provide an under-water experience inspiring a sense of awe and delight, activating all the senses – both physical and intellectual.” The project’s intended completion date is February/March 2019.