a home for marine life by snøhetta


Since its completion in 2019, Snøhetta‘s underwater restaurant Under has become overgrown with nature, seeming to become one with the marine landscape. The first of its kind, the structure spans 111 feet and dips beneath the water’s surface off the coast of Norway to rest directly on the seabed five meters below. Initially, the architecture itself had been designed as an artificial reef, intending to underscore the delicate ecological balance between land and sea — after three years it’s at last demonstrating its dual purpose as both restaurant and landscape.


See designboom’s previous coverage of project’s completion — including a time-lapse film of the submersion — here.

snøhetta underwaterimages by Timon Koch | @timonphotos



architecture occupied by nature


Snøhetta (see more here) sited its Under restaurant beneath the waters off the remote Norwegian coast, and had intentionally finished it with a rough, concrete texture. This exterior surface condition invited algae and mollusks to latch, which had proven to create the conditions for a thriving local ecosystem.


The team at Snøhetta commented that the work had been ’embraced by nature’ in that sense as it had intended all along, writing on its site: ‘We are thrilled to see the planned integrations coming to life and how nature has entirely inhabited the building, illustrated in these stunning new photographs by Timon Koch


Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant, was developed in close collaboration with the owners and marine biologists, resulting in a building where the chef can harvest dinner from the roof.’

snøhetta underwater



The group continues: ‘After the initial building process, stones have also been added to the site’s seabed. This supports an even better breeding ground for adhering organisms, providing food and shelter for many other species. Especially mussels have become an important part of the menu in the restaurant, and the kitchen continues its meticulous focus on using every ingredient possible, also items not normally used for food.


‘As well as creating unique experiences for the visitors, Under was designed to give people greater insight into life in the sea. Situated in Lindesnes, where the less salty water from the Baltic Sea meets the very salty Atlantic Ocean, the location is ideal in a marine biological context. This diverse ocean creates an accumulation of both the species that thrive best in partly brackish water and those that thrive best in salty sea, creating a peak of species diversity.


‘Over the last few years, the marine biologists have been able to study underwater life and fish behavior up-close without disturbing, leading to unique insights and even the rediscovery of species thought to be obsolete.’

snøhetta underwater

snøhetta underwater snøhetta underwater snøhetta's underwater restaurant has become an artificial reef overgrown with wild nature snøhetta's underwater restaurant has become an artificial reef overgrown with wild nature snøhetta's underwater restaurant has become an artificial reef overgrown with wild nature