Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We chose a plot called Kárastígsreitur. This is the area at the top of Frakkastígur, the plot that the streets Frakkastígur, Skólavörðustígur and Kárastígur mark. The exciting problems that this plot included were ones of lack of flow within the area, lack of conversations of the garden to the street, and lack of connection between the inhabitants. Hence, our program in this project is to increase overall flow of the area. We focused on three things in particular;

a) a new extension to Hotel Leifur Eiríksson, and
b) a peculiar shed formation in the center of the area
c) breaking down concrete fences that divided individual gardens, and finding other solutions to softer define your/mine, man-made/nature etc, e.g. leveling the ground.

These projects have only one thing in common: their location, that is, being a part of the same block. And this is important. Every building talks to its surroundings, both other buildings and the nature. And that is often forgotten.

As guidelines we used three pictures and three words to represent the concept of the project. These words were "interplay", "flow" and "bridge". Since the area is vast and the project is big, we decided to team up.

Now we will take you on a trip through the area, starting with going into the hotel and into the new extension. Then down to the street again and under the extension, into the garden.

When you walk into the lobby of the hotel, you can see the green wall harshly breaking through the hotel wall, and still finely framed with glass as though being a piece of art. To enter the dining area of the hotel you must first go down a few steps, down below the ground surface into a lounge hall. There you can sit down with a cocktail, listen to the soothing dripping water sounds from the and see the slowly growing moss on the wall. Or you can continue up through a glass tunnel that stretches up from earth, along the green wall and through it into the dining area. Every view out of this hotel extension is carefully selected, two window show you Hallgrímskirkja, one shows you down Frakkasígur allt the way down to the sea, and a large, curved skylight opens up the roof and shows you the beautiful blue-ish Reykjavík sky.

We applied the term "interplay" in particular on this hotel extension. In that case we added a new building to an old one, which calls for a consideration of how these buildings connect. As we see it, the details are crucial. This can be seen in the way that the extension breaks into the hotel and stretches out and leans on a small, old house closeby. The old and the new do not merge, they communicate without loosing their identity.

Architecture grows through time, and with time it becomes a part of the surroundings, and a part of the nature. We appreciate this fact, and allow the nature to take over, e.g. in the curved wall that connects the old part of the hotel to the new part, while it devides the two. Water runs down the coarse concrete wall and with time moss and such vegetation will grow on the wall.

The hotel extension is also a physical sign of our bridge concept. Without touching the ground it rests on the past and respects it as its fundamendal structure.

At the same time it works as a bridge from the street to the garden, that you walk under. When you stand beneath it you are on a gray area, between the public and private. This is where the path starts. A path that lies from the street, under the hotel extension, past a gallery/shop, along the sheds, and to the street again.

After walking under the hotel extension, the next thing that we see is and old gallery/shop. This gallery was a concern at first, since we thought that it disconnected the hotel from the rest. But instead of giving up and demolishing it we decided to work with it. We opened the closed wall that faced the garden, and created a visual connection through it. Also, now it works as a natural light source in the garden. Grass is allowed to grow on the roof and vegetation flows down the walls.

We walk a little further and reach a gray wall. A wall that serves as a backbone for the quirky shed formation. The path cuts through one of the sheds, and somehow it is like a mass of a void cutting through the more tangible wall. At this point you can choose either to enter the sheds, that is the café/resturant or to walk along the path outside the sheds. The ground around the sheds is sunken, around one meter below the surrounding surface. This allows the guests of the café/resturant to have a visual connection to the gardens of the inhabitants without allowing you to enter the more private area.

The sheds keep their facades, with different window styles and colors and each shed has its own floor style. But they are connected from inside. Also they all have grass on the roof so when seen from the surrounding houses they look like a part of the earth. Along the backbone/wall we put narrow skylights to allow more light to flood into the sheds.

These sheds now have a new function, a new purpose. Instead of housing old junk (as many did), they now house people. People connecting to each other. So the sheds are now the heart of the block, a public spot within a private one. In a great contrast to the hotel extension that is very visible from the street, but very closed off and almost hard to find the way into. The sheds are almost a part of the nature and talk to it. The hotel extension on the other hand talks to the city. And these parts are affected by these conversations.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Skuggi Center


My idea was to connect Skuggi to Frakkastígur and to extens Frakkastígur into Skuggi. Skuggi and its surrounding area are crying for some colors and activities. I think that the solutions fore Skuggi would be massive color bomb with crazy stuff.
I want to open the area of Skuggi to public by changing the lover floor of Skuggi that faces Frakkastígur to shopping centre that contains small stores and activities. I also want to connect the outdoor area to the street as a multifunctional market, leisure and events area.
Skuggi has the same population as a small village in Iceland so it will need to have the same kind of service. I don’t know any village in Iceland, which has the population of Skuggi, which do not have ther one groceries store or a meeting place. I think that additionally to my idea Skuggi would need a supermarket and a health clinic and I would put them in to the ground floor from Skúlagata.

The atmosphere I want to create inside Skuggi center is lively and the atmosphere of freedom and creativities. I want people to feel welcomed and that they feel like part of the Skuggi family but not just as every other client (victims) of the sellers.

The atmosphere in the outside area should be relaxing chaotic where I want to mix to gather the atmosphere of the inside area to the chaotic of boot fairs and the relaxing part of picnics.

Designing of Skuggi center
COLOR. And more colors. At the beginning I was to stucked to the color’s but not enough in to the form. Then I started to experiment with the form of the hallway and I found a triangle form I liked mixing with the colors. Then I wanted to make something of the entrances. The entrances of Skuggi center are in the same form and colure; red tubes. One from Lindargötu, one from Frakkastígur and one from Skúlagata/Sæbraut through a bride from Skuggi to the street. The entrance to the car park is a blue tube.
I wanted the stores to flow to the hallway and be part of it I think that I can make the hallway more interesting that way and make more live on it.


POST-IT life is a lifestyle store fore people that live the post-it life. They live fast and use quick solutions.

I think that SS pylsur are the most popular souvenirs in Iceland ever one try at least one so way not put one in Skuggi Center

Red, blue, yellow and green restaurant are gourmet restaurant with top service but rather low price and quick service. Its specialties are the magnificent view over the see and to Esja through the knife, fork and spoon windows.

sport center

Sport center / the running house /

I wanted to create a house that could be used as an sport machine, and with many different spaces, I was thinking about excitement in the forms, chaos in the flow, a lot of life and power, that every part could be used, therefore this house is made with a lot of movement in mind.

I was also thinking a lot about materials, light and heavy forms.

The house is made of raw concrete and icelandic rock and moss, wooden floors and the path is also made of wood.

The main consept of the house is the running path and how it looks like a big rock and also the diffurant spaces and that they do not have the same height.

The house is a public sport center for the inhabitant of

Frakkastígur and the people in the city.

The center offers a lot, there is a gym and a room for all kinds of activities e.g dance, boxing, climbing, martial arts, yoga and more.

The wiew from the gym is good because it is placed in the upper part of Frakkarstígur.

The house is like one big activitie room on the inside, with variable rather open spaces that store different activities, but all the spaces are connected with a path that is used for running and walking around the house.

The center of the building is open an you can see what is going on in the house and you can see how the path leads you in every room, the path is not a stair more like a running path.

The sport center is three storey high, on the ground floor is the changing room for men and women with steam rooms.

On the top floor or on the roof there is an outside area with grass fields that people can use for playing games some activities or relax in. The roof also has a hot pool where people can relax in and enjoy the sun after hard workout and relode with the view over Frakkastígur.

In the middle of these spaces are the rooms of activities.

First you walk in to a room við bikes and than there is the room for classes, it can be allkinds of classes like eorobik, dance, martial arts and more from there you can also enter a small coffie room where you can have a smoothie, read magasines watch tv and relax after the workout.

The path will than lead you in to the cardio room with running machines and there you have a good view over the city.

The next room is the yoga room where you have an oversight over the running room.

And than you will find a stair that leads you up on the roof with the pool and grass fields.

Therefor it is the perfect place to enjoy, you can workout and then relax in the hot pool on the roof with the view over the city.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Comment please

we just wanted to remind people that any comments are really appreciated, both to get an outside opinion of the subject and to get the public more involved with the school.  We would be glad to answer any of your questions you might have related to the project, the school or just architecture in general, so don´t be shy and tell us what you think

Café underground

Caught between the streets Frakkastígur, Kárastígur and Njálsgata there is a small parking lot. The Idea is to replace it with a green spot with a coffee house half underground, where you can sit down with a good book or for a chat. Bring your old book and exchange it for another used one or buy it cheap.

When people walk pass the coffee house, they will be able to see inside through the roof window’s scattered around the roof of the building and a large window that covers the front of the coffee house. In that way I will be able to bring the outside light in during the day and in the night the coffee house will be lit up by the light coming from the inside of the building.
The roof windows are also chairs and tables, where the old tables and chairs are built into the roof windows . The roof of the building has grass on top with small hills to sit on and small valley’s where you can lie down in.

The main entrance stands out and turns out to Frakkastígur and Njálsgata so there is no doubt where the entrance lies. An Elevator entrance is connected to the right side of the main entrance for those who have troubles making their way. From the surrounding sidewalk’s you can walk straight on to the roof and sit down in the grass.

The atmosphere inside is built in an cozy, home like style where you can see old furniture that has been put to new use. The toilets, which are partly built into the wall, is like an old fashion outhouse toilet. On the walls there are a few large spaces that are also built into the walls which customer’s can lie in with a good book or for a chat. The main space of the coffee house has inner walls that are made out of book shelf’s where people can find a book to read or to buy. The book shelf’s and the counter are built out of many random sized and shaped shelf’s from old book shelf’s.

Books are like houses they grow old with you and influence you or they leave nothing behind…

Art student workshop and gallery by Baldur

I was working with the idea of a small artist and public community. The project consists of a shop where art students could sell their work. A gallery, studio and an underground apartment. The site I chose is on the top of Frakkastígur facing Hallgrímskirkja. By catching the people flow around the church and increasing the flow of students up the street would the building serve as a gateway down Frakkastígur. A combination of a studio, shop and a gallery would maybe give the necessary boost of life needed to attract the peopleflow around hallgímskirkja down the street.  This kind of a workshop could be linked to the new art school as a part of a bigger project


On the top of the plan shown below is the gallery located. The studio is on the left and the shop in the bottom. The apartment is underground in the middle of the building cluster.
To make people feel welcome and invited to the building I created a terrace in  front of the Hallgrímskirkja entry where tables could be set up during the summer.

 The underground apartment
I wanted to make the experience of being underground exciting by having the materials very raw and natural. The walls are made of black lava rock and the floor of bare concrete, by having the apartment slightly lifted up you get daylight in from all sides through a narrow window, the little private garden acts as a threshold between the above ground and underground. 

To balance out the open and naked feel of the apartment I made the interior playful
with strong colors, I wanted to add some movement to the space so I made the rooms moveable. They can either serve as four individual rooms or come together and make one big room if fewer people are occupying the space

I chose to make a section that would show how the building forms connect, both with an entry to the apartment from the studio,  and from the apartment to the garden which flows inside the gallery. In this section I also wanted to show the transaction in material between above ground and under.  In the section you can also she the moveable shutters on the roof and the moving sliding doors which surrounds the glass part of the gallery. 

The working space inside the studio can transform into one single working table to suit different situations,  if more space is needed for rougher artwork (on either side of the desk space) or for closer teamwork and interaction. I wanted the studio to be rougher material vice then the gallery and to have a warehouse atmosphere. 

In this section my point is to show the relationship between the forms . The shop has an interior which can also transform or move to suit different kinds of merchandise sold in the shop. Through the middle in between the buildings (the entry from hallgrímskirkja) tables can be set up and people would get the chance to observe the daily life of the artists through a big opening on the studio shown on the left on the picture above.

I chose concrete for the exterior of the building to visually link Hallgrímskirkja to my project being  the only two bare concrete houses in the area.  Aside from having an entrance to the building from Skólavörðuholt there is also an entrance from Frakkastígur where big display windows alow you to see inside the studio and  the shop and lead you inside the building cluster. I got my inspiration from old warehouses and barns and I felt that the open and rough form of the building represented the project well.