Vatnsmýri Urban Plan Competition: Iceland Building

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Vatnsmýri Urban Plan Iceland : Architecture Information

Iceland Building – design by Graeme Massie Architects

20 Feb 2008

Vatnsmýri Urban Plan

International Design Competition for an Urban Plan for Vatnsmýri, Reykjavik

1st Prize

Design: Graeme Massie Architects

Vatnsmýri Urban Plan
Urban Plan for Vatnsmýri

Edinburgh-based practice, Graeme Massie Architects, have been confirmed as first prize winners in the international design competition for the development of an urban plan (150 hectares) for the area of Vatnsmýri in central Reykjavik, Iceland. The aim of the competition was to maximize the opportunity offered by Vatnsmýri to consolidate and strengthen the city of Reykjavik for the 21st century.

Vatnsmýri is a large flat area, now occupied by an airport that primarily serves domestic passenger, recreational and pilot training flights. The airfield was constructed by British military forces at the beginning of the Second World War. At the time it was on the outskirts of the urban area but the city has since expanded greatly and surrounded the airfield site. There is now increasing interest in the possibilities of developing the airport area, land that is owned by the Icelandic State and the City of Reykjavik.

Vatnsmýri Urban Plan
View across new dual lakes to Vatnsmýri

The winning proposal is premised on the need for the city of Reykjavik to strengthen its identity and reputation in order to globally compete for business and tourism. The historic centre, 101, is internationally recognisable; however its location and popularity is such that it is coming under increasing development pressure. To remove this pressure we propose a framework which integrates with the existing infrastructure and built fabric of 101 and other adjoining areas, and is wholly sustainable. The proposal also draws from 101 a reciprocal relationship between urban fabric, lake, waterfront, hill and landmark, creating a new district which is at once both recognisable and distinct: urban in character but intrinsically linked to the landscape.

Vatnsmýri Urban Plan Vatnsmýri Urban Plan Vatnsmýri Urban Plan

Within a multi-layered solution encompassing elements as diverse as historical retention, integrated traffic management, sustainability and ecology, landscape plays a vital role in the organisation and cohesion of the newly enlarged city centre: it is a unifying element linking old and new, natural and man-made. Evolving and diverse, it serves as a device to wrap, support, and structure the subsequent developments within the urban plan.

Members of the jury included Joan Busquets (Urban Planner, Barcelona/Boston), Steve Christer (Architect, Studio Granda, Reykjavik), Kees Kaan (Architect, Claus en Kaan, Rotterdam) and Hildebrand Machleidt (Urban Planner, Machleidt + Partner, Berlin).

Following discussions with the City of Reykjavik, Graeme Massie Architects will be appointed as lead consultants for the long-term development of Vatnsmýri.

It is Graeme Massie Architects’ second competition success in Iceland, having previously won the international competition for an urban plan for the regeneration of the town centre of Vatnsmýri Urban Plan in northern Iceland – the largest town outside the Reykjavik area. The practice is currently developing a Deiliskipulag for the town centre, with the first projects likely to be on site towards the end of 2008.

Vatnsmýri Urban Plan images / information from Graeme Massie Architects 200208

Graeme Massie


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Icelandic Architecture

Iceland Architecture Designs – chronological list

Reykjavik Architecture Walking Tours




Icelandic Project by Graeme Massie Architects

Vision Akureyri International Design Competition, 1st Prize
Graeme Massie Architects
Icelandic building competition
image from architect

Icelandic building competition

Graeme Massie Architects – Competitions
Atlantic College, Wales – shortlisted
Vision Akureyri, Iceland – winner
Bonn Square, Oxford – winner

Buildings / photos for the Vatnsmýri Urban Plan Iceland page welcome

Vatnsmýri Urban Plan – page

Vatnsmýri development competition website: www.vatnsmyri.is/enexhib.asp

Website: Iceland