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Under is Europe’s first underwater restaurant, located in the North Sea in Lindesnes Municipality, Norway.
Designed by Snøhetta, it is the world’s biggest underwater restaurant, designed to provide seating for up to 100 guests. The restaurant also serves as a marine research centre.
Opened for guests in April 2019, Under aims to strengthen its guests’ connection with the ocean. It is intended to offer a unique experience of the sea’s ecosystem through its architecture and menu.
The 495m² underwater restaurant also aims to encourage Norway’s eco-tourism, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about marine biology through the research centre.
Under restaurant location
The site is located off the coast of Lindesnes, which is the southernmost point of the Norwegian mainland.
The setting is a unique point of the congregation of the sea storms from the north and south, exposing the structure to stormy waters.
Design of Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant
Under’s tube-like structure features an oak-clad, wood-panelled foyer. A vertical window running from above the sea level to below shows how the water and wind meet.
The rough rocks on the outside contrast to the indoor oak staircase descending downstairs. A bar is located at the mezzanine level.
The design transitions from raw steel railings to textile-clad ceiling surface.
The colour scheme mimics the sun setting over the ocean. The colours become darker as visitors descend deeper underwater, matching the surrounding sea.
The artificial lighting used in Under’s dining area has been carefully designed to minimise reflections and easily adapt different lighting conditions inside and outside throughout the day.
The strategic placement of lighting on the outside not only reveals the nearby aquatic life but also attracts water species to the area.
Structural details of Under
Under is a monolithic concrete structure, which extends into the seabed at a depth of 5m. The structure was designed to blend into its marine environment and survive stress and jolts from the sea settings.
The concrete shell was built with windows prior to submersion. The structure was bolted to a concrete slab anchored to the bedrock.
The 3ft-thick walls of the structure are slightly curved to withstand pressure from the water waves and provide optimal resistance.
In an effort to add a unique quality to the underwater restaurant, the external surface of the concrete structure is left unfinished to attract sea creatures. The crudeness of the exterior concrete shell also has the effect of making the structure look like an artificial reef.
The half-sunken concrete block features a 36 x 11ft window that accentuates the scenic view of the ocean. This large window connects the visitors to the ocean and its wildlife, intensifying the visual aspects of the experience.
Key contractors involved
Under was designed by international architecture, interior and landscape firm Snøhetta.
BRG Entreprenør was the main contractor of the project, while Asplan Viak was the structural consultant.
CoreMarine provided consulting services regarding wave impact on the structure. The consultant was also responsible for the environmental analysis, wave propagation model generation, pre-eye designs and installation and stability analysis.
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