Iceland Trek

Posted by Sam

on November 15, 2017

Categories: Architecture, Iceland, Travel

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I did a Trek in Iceland at the end of summer to raise money for an incredible local charity, Francis House Hospice.

After exploring the city of Reykjavic for a day and night, we flew to Egilstaðir Airport, South East Iceland. We hiked around 75km over the 5 days with ascents up to 1970ft. It was inspiring to see how the Icelandic live and their relationship with nature. Their buildings respect the environment in which they sit and look pure and simple in their form and materiality.

Icelandic Architecture draws from Scandinavian influences and, traditionally, was influenced by the lack of native trees on the island. As a result, grass- and turf-covered houses were developed.

Many high-quality stone buildings were erected in the 18th century, the very first being a mansion on Viðey, made completely out of Icelandic stone. Many Icelanders were themselves encouraged to learn the craft of masonry during the stone construction boom period, leading to the building of many stone houses which mimicked the design of Icelandic turf houses.

The original turf houses constructed by the original settlers of Iceland (from the west coast of Norway were based on Viking Longhouses (langhús).

As the 20th century dawned, Swiss chalet style architecture was brought indirectly to Iceland under Norwegian influence. Settling in the Eastern Region and Westfjords, they brought with them prefabricated houses which they then erected there. The buildings tended to be taller and with large windows, unlike anything of the styles that had prevailed in Iceland beforehand. Notable features of these buildings were the friezes above doors and windows, and eaves which projected out above the walls.