Selfoss Town Centre

Selfoss Town Centre

Selfoss, Iceland
In progress
design image
Urban planning and its implementation are essentially like playing with blocks. They are arranged in the most convenient way possible for the life that is to thrive there. The operations must flourish, the residences need light, and the external environment in our cool country needs sun and shelter. People simply need to feel good. Thus, the choice of blocks is a very important factor in ensuring the success of the plan, but of course, arranging them so that the best possible results are achieved according to the set goals is equally important.

There's nothing new under the sun. Many architects and urban planners turn to journals or, more recently, the internet for blocks from the contemporary era or the last few decades to shape their plans. More often than not, these blocks are from some form of global architecture that doesn't tell the story of the local spirit but could be from anywhere in the world. The "coolest" architecture is found, and it must be incorporated into the new plan – it can't fail. However, we know from our urban planning history that new city centers are not always the fabulous outcome that was hoped for.

In close cooperation with Sigtún Development Company of Selfoss City Center, we at Batteríið wanted to try a different composition. If the blocks have a deeper meaning, perhaps a history and appearance that are interwoven with the Icelandic spirit, we believed there was a good chance of hitting closer to the mark.

In the case of Selfoss City Center, we chose to fill our block box with old Icelandic houses from here and there around the country, all of which share the commonality of either having burned down or been replaced by new planning and construction. Therefore, no two blocks are the same, and diversity is emphasized. Most of the houses are drawn up from photographs, and sometimes it's necessary to fill in the gaps. Often, we wanted to connect houses with connecting buildings or, for example, address accessibility issues, so there lie blocks from the contemporary era. This is done consciously so that the old houses become more readable. Nonetheless, the main theme is old books in new print.

The first phase of the city center has now been put into use, and little indicates that the objectives for a lively city center will not be met. We sincerely thank all partners for a fun yet challenging collaboration. We look happily down into our block box for the next phase.

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