Bleak, Whimsical Reykjavik

Reykjavik architecture

Located on the edge of the arctic circle, Iceland’s capital has an undeniable intrigue. Populated by only 100,000 residents, Reykjavik feels as if it has the arts scene of a much larger city. Icelandic cinema, music and literature is brilliant and unique, treading the line between playful whimsy and apocalyptic bleakness. This is not unlike Reykjavik itself. “There is nothing to do in Iceland,” said a woman explaining her country to me, “so we make music or we have sex with each other all the time.”

Reykjavik’s urban layout and architecture is similar to other Scandinavian cities, with a twist. The Norwegian fisherman’s hut is reproduced everywhere, but here it’s clad with sheets of corrugated metal. This building material, usually seen in third-world shantytowns, is painted with bright colours and given a chic spin through clever use of Scandinavian design. A streetscape of such houses is quaint, but there always seems to be an austere Stalinist building at the end to provide a crushing perspective on the quaintness. Take a tour and see for yourself.

This entry was written by Patrick Donovan , posted on Sunday October 01 2006at 08:10 pm , filed under Architecture, Europe, Society and Culture and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Responses to “Bleak, Whimsical Reykjavik”

  • Olga Schlyter says:

    Thank you for the tour. Ever since I’ve heard of them I’ve been fascinated by the metal clad houses of Island. I’d like to see them some day, but even if I live in Scandinavia it’s far, far away…

  • Christopher DeWolf says:

    I know someone who’s spending a year in Iceland. I wonder if she’s having lots of sex? It must be cozy in those metal houses.