All posts filed under: Architecture

The Physics of Architecture

Jón Kristinsson, pioneer in sustainable architecture.

One could say that Jón Kristinsson is an interesting combination of an inventor and an architect. He speaks as a physicist and thinks in sustainability. Jón has been based in Deventer, Holland for the majority of his life. He studied architecture at Delft University of Technology where he later became a professor in sustainable technology and design. Jón is known for having designed the most sustainable building in Holland and is well known for his inventions in the field of sustainability. HA magazine is curious why he is known in Holland as the father of sustainable architecture. Text by Sigríður Maack and Arnar Fells Gunnarsson, Photos by Arnar Fells and Kristinsson Architects. Fascinated by Force of Nature During his high school years he was at sea and was granted permission to take his exams alongside work. Early on, he became interested in sustainable development, assuming the seamanship had something to do with it. At sea he became conscious of the environment and forces of nature, whether it was the boat engine, winds or waves. Jón …

Parlamental grounds — A prime ministers dream

  Downtown Reykjavik is undergoing considerable development these days, and the planned construction in the area has given rise to some lively architectural debate, a debate due in no small part to the ideas put forth by Iceland’s Prime Minister, Mr. Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, or rather his involvement in Reykjavik city planning affairs. In one of his more unorthodox ploys, Gunnlaugsson has reintroduced a century-old set of blueprints for an expansion to Iceland’s Parliament Building. The idea was first presented on April 1 of 2015, and most suspected it to be an April Fools’ Day gag of some sort, as the Prime Minister has no authority in such affairs. However, Gunnlaugsson has pursued the matter in full earnestness, as evidenced by the Christmas cards his office sent out this last holiday season, which featured imagery of the “new” building in its proposed location, across the street from Reykjavik City Hall. Read on for Birkir Ingibjartsson’s thoughts on the Prime Minister’s nostalgic tendencies, and whether or not the proposed undertaking can be achieved in today’s world. …

Thoughts on nesting

On World Architecture Day

An eco-friendly ideology and a sustainable society. Both have become prominent concepts in recent years, not least following the financial collapse that so thoroughly affected people’s way of thinking. It was as if the whole world was ready for a reassessment of its situation – up to certain extent. Text by Bjarki Gunnar Halldórsson arkitekt / Photos by Tom Chudleigh Architects both here and abroad have taken the discussion very seriously and agreed upon the criteria that a sustainable structure must meet. It must, among other things, be resilient and flexible, make economic use of space, be conducive to a pleasant atmosphere and good lighting, maximize the economical consumption of resources such as water, and in addition to all this, it must blend in well with its surrounding environment. These are all fine objectives to have in mind and on par with what generally constitutes a good building in the architectural sense. The goal of living together in a sustainable house is certainly an achievable one. Technology has advanced in giant leaps since I began following sustainability in …

Hidden Wood

Driftwood in design

Driftwood is the subject of an exhibition in Djúpavík at Strandir, one of the most enchanting places in the Westfjords of Iceland. The exhibition, HIDDEN WOOD – Driftwood in design, focuses on the diverse opportunities hidden in Icelandic driftwood, on an island that is largely devoid of wooden areas. Text: Arnar Fells / Photos: Halla E. Hansen & curiators Ever since the first settlers arrived to the shores of Iceland, driftwood has been a valuble commodity, used as building material for ships and houses. The coastline of Strandir has always been bombarded with driftwood so the area must have played an significant role in a country with only small forests. In the middle ages it was common belief that the trees grew at the bottom of the ocean, north of Iceland but now we know that most of the driftwood travels a long way from Siberia before reaching the shores of Iceland. It is no surprise then that the farmers at Strandir are known as people of great craftsmanship, selling carved artefacts and household tools all over Iceland. The exhibition Hidden Wood is meant …

Kristín Guðmundsdóttir

Ideals in interior design

The name Kristín Guðmundsdóttir has not had a prominent place in Icelandic design history, despite the fact that she was the first Icelander to educate herself abroad in interior design. Author: Halldóra Arnardóttir / Photographer: David Frutos Kristín, who chose to call herself híbýlafræðing [home expert], paved the way for the designers that came after. She pioneered many innovations in interior design, especially with regard to kitchen facilities and the use of color schemes. While it is still possible to find original fixtures designed by Kristín, unfortunately many were torn down. In a new book, Kristín Guðmundsdóttir, híbýlafræðingur/interior designer, which is soon to be published, Kristín finally receives the recognition she deserves as a pioneer in her field. So who was this notable woman? Kristín Guðmundsdóttir (born 1923) was the first Icelander to educate herself in interior design at university level. In June 1943 she stepped aboard the ship Brúarfoss, which made its way across the Atlantic Ocean, docking in New York. Travelling from Iceland to New York took a month, with a stop in …

Can Reykjavík stop the sprawl?

Reykjavík’s new municipal plan for 2010—2030

Reykjavík has been a desirable address when Icelanders choose where to make their homes, but the capital region’s influx of residents is now predicted to slow. Statistics Iceland projects that by 2030 the capital region’s population will increase by 25,000 people. Author: Sigríður Maack That’s an annual increase of 0.9% compared to 1.6% per year over the last 20 years. The coming decades are expected to bring a considerable slowdown to the city’s growth, which is one of the reasons for an emphasis on building densification in Reykjavík’s new municipal plan for 2010–2030. The new plan is available as a elegantly designed print edition from Crymogea publishers, full of diagrams and clearly presented texts. Atli Hilmarsson’s studio handled the book’s layout and design. It took several years to gather all the information that went into the plan, as well as the expert work of many specialists in their fields. The municipal plan is also available for download at the city’s website and issuu.com. In this article we’ll look at a few key elements. Definitive guidelines …