Reykjavik’s skyline is dominated, not so much by the city’s low-level urban massing, but more by the backdrop of blue, white and grey mountains in the distance. Therefore, any addition to the skyline must take its geographical and topographical context into consideration. The building in this case faces the bay of Reykjavík and the mountain Esja across.
With buildings of this scale, it is easy to let their size appear out of context with the city. Here careful consideration is paid to the detail of the façade. The building is wrapped in a unique skin of curtain wall. It is pockmarked with indentations made by the faceted vertical glazing. It appears as though randomly scattered across the surface of the building.
The use of components of 1.5m x 3,5m solid glass and openable-slot glazing panels, helps in bedding the building in both the geographical context but also assists in reducing the buildings overall scale. As well as taking advantage of passive ventilation, these unique open-able-slot panels, along with the concealed ceiling-mounted roller blinds, help to animate what would otherwise be flat imposing façades.
As if hewn from the surrounding mountains, the building can appear solid but equally it can appear invisible; reflecting the clouds, water and camouflaging it against the mountains in the distance. It can appear light and transparent when lit up from the inside, allowing glimpses of the users of the building and to the city and mountains beyond.
Project Designed: 2007
Completion year: 2010
Floor area: 23,000 m2