Birkimörk Halfway House

Birkimörk Halfway House, Reykjiavik-Iceland, PK Arkitektrar
Construction year: 2007
Address: Birkimörk 21-27, Hveragerði | REYKJAVIK | Iceland
Latitude/Longitude: 63.9990461, -21.2000807

This apartment housing is located in the lowlands of Hveragerði, a small town of about 1,700 inhabitants that lies some 45 km east of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. Surrounded by an eminent mountain range to the north, the town is conveniently located on the Ring Road, Iceland’s most important highway. In 2001 PK Arkitektar was invited by the Ministry of Social Affairs to plan a facility for severe handicapped youngsters in Reykjavik. The project demonstrated to be successful and therefore the studio was again commissioned to design a similar building.

The amazing setting for the new house required adjustments and reorganization. From the beginning, it was clear to the architects that the task was to create a home rather than simply an institution for handicapped youngsters. The architectural appearance is simplistic and characterized by a sincere and clear composition of two white blocks with different heights and separated by a distribution corridor.

The entrance formed by an L-shaped exposed concrete wall, leads to a common lounge connected to a terrace and to the main kitchen of the house.

The apartments area and functional spaces are connected by a corridor in the middle of the building which brings natural light in, providing a warm and serene ambience.

The five apartments are fully equipped for severe handicapped youngster. They are all 34,5 sqm each, with its own kitchen and bathroom. Tracks inlaid in the ceiling connect the rooms and facilitate transportation of the residents inside the house.

The functional rooms on the other side of the corridor consist in a common bathroom, staff quarters, washing room and storage.

The plastered white and simple horizontal volumes of the exterior are in contrast to the warm choice of material indoors. Walnut is the main material in the floor and fittings custom designed by the architect. PK Arkitektar is currently working on a wide range of projects in Iceland including several single-family houses, summer houses and Ho fðatorg, an 80.000sqm mixed-use complex located close to the city center of Reykjavik due to be finalized in the year 2011.

Floor Area: 450m2
Client: ministry of social affairs
Design Team: Pálmar Kristmunds, Sonbernd Kolb

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