Icelandic Architect Proposes Building Cities with Molten Lava

Icelandic architect Arnhildur Pálmadóttir has a radical plan to direct, form, and utilize molten lava to actually build cities of the future.  Her concept, called Lavaforming, is a response to the rising carbon emissions of current building techniques, and also a brilliant way to capture the powerful forces that live deep under the earth. 🌏

It’s a fascinating plan, harnessing the raw power of lava, directing it in channels, or even utilizing it in 3D printing.  Presented at a design conference in Reykjavík, the architect spoke of the untapped resource beneath her feet in her native Iceland, which is home to over 130 volcanic mountains.


This radical building technique is dubbed ‘lavaforming’, and would entail drilling down to liquid magma, and piping or channeling it into forms that would then cool and create structures.

The resulting structures could serve as the backbone of a new city, a cast-in-place form idea would open up a world of possibilities.

It’s clear that this novel approach to building would require new technologies and tools to accomplish, but it’s also critical that humanity start investigating new building techniques that aren’t as carbon intensive.

Read more about the plans on Dezeen.

“Changing this is not easy and this is what is preventing us from taking real steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the effects of climate change. But it also makes you think, what would happen if we think outside of those systems and if we look at things from a different angle.” 

     – Arnhildur Palmadottir

The Icelandic architect and her radical idea of building using lava. See more on Pálmadóttir’s website.