In the middle of a sloping lava field overgrown with arctic beech shrubs, lie the Brekkuskógur Cottages designed by Arkibullan Architects, for the BHM Icelandic Academic Association. With a breathtaking view of the mountain rim of the Icelandic Southern Highlands to the north, and the country’s largest agricultural area to the south, the area is situated only 90 minutes’ drive from Reykjavik.
An architectural project nominated for the 2012 DV Cultural Prize of Architecture in Iceland, the Cottages are 95 square meters poured concrete and wood structures that each can sleep 8 people and is habitable year-round in this occasionally harsh sub-arctic climate.
To shield it from winter weathers and summer showers alike, the entrance is esconded away under a porch towards the north, whereas towards the south lies an expansive veranda containing a hot tub and outside dining area.
Inside, the kitchen, dining area and living room merge together to provide the houseguests with simutaneous views of the scenic landscape in all directions. A corridor covered in bookshelves from floor to ceiling leads to the three bedrooms on one side and the bathroom to the other.
Building materials are locally sourced and natural. The concrete and timber construction is untreated on the outside, leaving the larch cladding to grey with time, and the roofs have been planted with the local flora.
Inside timber walls are clad with birch plywood, whereas the inside concrete walls are either untreated or painted in a palette of the local natural colours.
The kitchen, as well as the corridor and bathroom, are covered in tiles of locally-sourced basaltic graystone columns which continue on out under the porched entrance. The dining and living room area has wooden floors, which continues onto the veranda.
All furniture and fixtures are either specially designed or selected by Arkibullan Architects.
The BHM Brekkuskógur Cottages are an ambitious piece of architecture that is accessible to all members of the BHM Association. The Cottages have proven to be BHM’s far most popular destinations, and are in constant demand.
Contributed by Arkibúllan Architects
Bláskógabyggð is a municipality located in western Iceland and about 90km away from Reykjavik.
Photos © Auður Þórhallsdóttir