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ARCHITECTS • LFA DIGITAL 2020  

HREFNA BJORG + HÓLMFRÍDUR 
ARKIBÚLLAN • REYKJAVÍK

This portrait of the building’s architects was shot on a basaltic hill south of the grounds of Gufunes Cemetary in Reykjavik. In the background is the building for the churchyard offices and staff housing formings the eastern wall of structures that are yet to come.

When we decided to take part in the competition that led to this project, we spent many days on the site making sketches focusing mainly on the microlandscape of the surrounding nature. It was late summer and the Icelandic wild blueberries were in season. 

Our main approach was to work in different scales by looking at the spaces between the basaltic stones with the aim of translating them through drawings and models into the architectural spaces required by the competition. As a result, this project is in our minds completely founded on the site's premises.

The structure consists of two masses that are reflected in the building's appearances. Organically formed white concrete walls stand in contrast to straighter walls made of the local basaltic bedrock. The white walls lead the way for the visitors while the basaltic walls form a barrier between the inner spaces and the outside world. The structures that are yet to come include a church, a chapel and a crematorium.

In all our work, the influence of nature and the environment on the design of the structures has been the focal point. We begin the work on each project searching for clues in as many places as possible: in the surrounding landscape and neighbouring buildings, in the human life that fills these spaces, and in our own minds. These clues then become a firm driving force leading the work from the first sketch to a fully formed structure.

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