19 March 2008

One of the largest residential schemes in iceland currently under construction is the Höfðatorg quarter in Reykjavik. Described by developers and main contractor Eykt as a “new concept in urban living” the 27000 m2 site will link the financial district to the old town centre and forms part of the city's regeneration plans.

With 75000 m2 above ground and 60000 m2 below ground it will combine offices, residential and retail units centred a round a public piazza, which forms the “core” of the development and occupies about 70% of the project's footprint.

Costing ISK 30 billion (€ 356 million) it will take almost four years to build and is aimed at those Icelanders “who've lived abroad and are bringing new ideas, both economic and intellectual” back to the country.

According to marketing director Gisili Jönsson, animating the public space was the most important aspect of the design. “With the buildings framing the piazza it was important to consider why people want to be there, so animating that space was the most important aspect of the design.

“However, the wind is a major problem in Iceland. The design therefore had to overcome this and we spent a lot of time working out how to deal with this while making the place pleasant to be in.”

This meant breaking up the space with barriers, atriums public access spaces and hard landscaping that complemented the overall design aesthetic, said Mr Jönsson.

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