Kvosin local plan, Iceland. In cooperation with Ólafur Þór Erlendsson.
A new grand plaza unifies the remaining historic buildings of Kvosin and sets the stage for the story of Reykjavik’s origin. The plaza combines Ingolfstorg and Víkurgardur in to one long void connecting the town hall with the urban activities at Austurstræti.
The north part of the plaza is partly covered by flexible glass pavilions that can be opened and closed as required. The pavilions makes room for a small market square with stalls, exhibitions and small gatherings. A place where people can exchange goods, knowledge and culture. The market reflects the inherent vitality at Austurstræti and Hafnarstræti.
The south section of the plaza takes its inspiration from the Icelandic nature. It’s paved with dark columnar basalt. Blocks of basalt divides the vast surface in smaller spaces where varied Icelandic vegetation like mosses, shrubs and small trees can find shelter. Rainwater is led in small crevices to the vegetation. The smaller spaces located along the edges, invites to play and informal seating while overlooking the the plaza.
To the east, the plaza is bounded by a new hotel. The varied offset of the facade provide shelter for outdoor seating and offers numerous opportunities for outdoor serving. The new hotel with its sublime location between the plaza and Austurvøllur has a splendid view of the parliament and the cathedral.
Glass coated voids allow daylight to an underground car park and serves as luminaries in the evening.
The area are served by a circular network of roads. It’s a low speed zone, making it safe for mixing cars, bicycles and pedestrians.
There is a new underground car park beneath the plaza. Its large capacity allow conversion of overground parking spaces, and thereby improving the conditions of city life. This supports the possibility of Austurstræti to be periodically or permanent car free.
The combination of plaza and car park brings new activity to the west end of the area and hereby helps to distribute the activities at Austurstræti more evenly.
The design of the new hotel is a reinterpretation of the traditional Icelandic “bursturbæ”. A design which relate to the surrounding historic buildings. It has an open structure and is broken into smaller units to accommodate the scale of the neighbourhood.
By offsetting the units the building makes place for three listed buildings. The three old buildings contribute in their own way to the hotel and are located in their respective courtyards. The structure is simple and logical with a central corridor connecting three stairwells. All extroverted activities is located at ground floor, thus supporting the interaction with the surrounding area.
The hotel is designed to be bright and welcoming. The glass covered stairwells lets in the sky and the play of daylight as a contrast to the dark basalt paved floor. The bright and open environment in the new building is a contrast to the dense and smaller spaces in the old listed buildings. This contrast is a quality in the hotel and is deliberately exploited by the interior layout.