An architectural feat, Europe’s first underwater restaurant opened 400km north of Oslo.
The Big Blue on your plate. This is what is offered by a restaurant in Båly, on the southern tip of the Norwegian coast. Set on a rock overlooking the Skagerrak, the strait that separates Norway from Denmark and the Baltic Sea, the settlement has the peculiarity of being partly submerged at 5.5 meters of depth.
Half set in the sea, this 34m long building redefines the laws of contemporary architecture. Designed by the office Snøhetta (which owes its reputation to the Oslo Opera House, the Alexandrine Library in Egypt and the National September 11 Memorial in New York), the well-named Under resembles a concrete monolith with thick walls of one meter to withstand the pressure of water and bad weather.
A multidisciplinary team
The architects called on specialists in the oil industry, specialists in the construction of platforms in the North Sea. The 1.6-tonne monolith was cast into a giant mould and then towed to its final destination, where a crane submerged it. The complex was then closed up, and the seawater pumped. The upper part emerges from the surface, but the base is fixed on the seabed, five metres below the surface of the water. The building also has a slope of 20 degrees.
“In this building, you can find yourself both under water, above the seabed, between land and sea. From the dining room, with its large bay window, guests can eat and enjoy underwater life,” explains architect Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Snøhetta’s founding partner. Booking, however, is already full until the end of September, even if you have to count on around 250 euros per person for the menu.