“In its most basic form, the idea is to create with ALDIN a lush and giving environment under a glass roof where there’s always good weather. ALDIN Biodome will be a centre of natural energy where traveling visitors and locals can seek physical and emotional nourishment the whole year round. I feel there’s an exceptional opportunity in Iceland to create this environment and I’m convinced that operations in Langagróf, south of Elliðaárdalur, will be a huge boon to the whole region around it,” says Hjördís Sigurðardóttir, urban planner and CEO of Spor í Sandinn, which plans to build a three-dome greenhouse in the so-called “Langagróf” a former mining and landfill area. The zoning plan for the area has been approved both by the city council and the development committee, and obtained formal legal approval with the publication in the B-section of 'Stjórnartíðindi‘ (legal paper) at the end of last year.
In Aldin Biodome it will be possible to work, attend meetings, and enjoy recreation in a comfortable atmosphere. There, people can buy fresh product, enjoy meals straight from the farm, learn from the senses, practice yoga, or just enjoy the beauty and 'recharge their batteries'.
The green energy
Hjördís has a BSc degree in Food Science from the University of Iceland but also spent time teaching in the Environmental Planning programme at the Agricultural University in Hvanneyri. After this she went on to earn a degree in Landscape Architecture and Planning with an emphasis on planning from Wageningen University in Holland. She says that the emphasis in her studies focused on laying out the environment around conserving energy and materials, with a closed-loop ecosystem as a model, in order to be able to reduce the environmental impact and create a more diverse, exciting environment.
“In my MSc Thesis I did a case study on urban farming in two large cities overseas, and in the wake of this developed an interest in looking into how it would be possible to utilize this philosophy here in Iceland. I saw of course that there was a unique opportunity to work more with geothermal heat and all of our green energy, create new and exciting recreational opportunities, and at the same time respond to the growing demand for greater self-sufficiency, improve mental health, and general well-being. This notion stuck with me for some time and I ended up joining together with some outstanding partners to develop the idea further. Now we’ve come to the point where we’ve gotten a pledge from the city for the lot in Langagróf at the south edge of Elliðaárdalur, to build biodomes where, with the help of geothermal energy and horticultural lighting, we can create access to a wonderful environment the whole year round in the heart of the city.
The planned construction of ALDIN Biodome consists of three glass domes of different sizes which house a wide variety of business activities. In the farm lab there will be an open square where people can shop at a green market, there will be a café and a 'farm to table' restaurant, and places where people can take part in cultivation experiments. In the other domes there will be a 'food forest' with a tropical environment. In the Mediterranean dome there will be facilities for people to work and have meetings in a green, attractive setting that also increases creativity and productivity according to research. In the tropical dome there will be facilities for health-related pursuits to support lower blood pressure and relaxation. The overall environment will be a mix of education and relaxation areas. “This will be a truly amazing place where all activities will be blended into a natural environment, protected inside glass domes, and protected from the harsh weather conditions outside,” says Hjördís.
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