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An idea for an Icelandic community house. Modular construction as simple as furniture from IKEA

01 of August '22

Przemyslaw Chmielarski, Agnieszka Trzcinska, Aditya Soman of TU Delft designed a community house and received an honorable mention in the Iceland Lake Mývatn Community House competition. Their proposal, called Mývatnssveit Eldaskáli , refers to the traditional architecture of the Icelandic house and the main hall at its center. In the award-winning concept, the hall is transformed into a center for community meetings and social activities, as well as an exchange for used items.

Buildner's Iceland Lake Mývatn Community House platform competition was organized in cooperation with Sveinn Margeirsson, mayor of the Skútustaðahreppur municipality located in northern Iceland. Skútustaðahreppur and Þingeyjarsveit plan to merge into a single, closed-cycle economy, the largest municipality in Iceland, setting an example of sustainable development. The new region would cover some 12,000 square kilometers and be home to more than 1,200 people.

The competitionchallenge was to design a community/community house that would become an example of the positive impact of the circular economy for all of Iceland. The proposed building is intended to be a major regional center for trade, exchange and recycling of materials and resources.

Projekt nawiązuje do architektury niskich domów wybudowanych z kamieni i torfu pokrytych zielonym dachem

The Mývatnssveit Eldaskáli project received an honorable mention

© Przemyslaw Chmielarski, Agnieszka Trzcinska, Aditya Soman

honorable mention

The proposals sent from all over the world were shaded by a jury consisting of: Marshall Blecher (MAST, Denmark), Xuanru Chen (ZJJZ Atelier, China), Pip Cheshire (Cheshire Architects, New Zealand), Borghildur Indriðadóttir (artist, Iceland), Magic Kwan andKenrick Wong (OOA - Orient Occident Atelier, Cambodia), Marta Frazão, Filipe Rodrigues and Inês Vicente (Atelier Data, Portugal), Lera Samovich (Fala Atelier, Portugal), Sigrún Sumarliðadóttir (Studio Bua, UK and Norway). They awarded three main prizes, two special prizes and six honorable mentions, among which was the project Mývatnssveit Eldaskáli by students and graduates from TU Delft - Przemyslaw Chmielarski, Agnieszka Trzcinska and Adita Soman.

We began our design collaboration in 2020 as students at TU Delft in the Netherlands, forming a small team consisting of people with different backgrounds and interests in architecture and engineering. Our goal was to create a group capable of developing competition tasks and laying the foundation for a future architectural firm, so we founded UNCG(Unofficial Competition Group). We put a strong emphasis on pushing the boundaries in design thinking, supported by a solid knowledge of digital technologies," the competition winners say about themselves.

Projekt Mývatnssveit Eldaskáli skryty w zboczu

The building refers to the architecture of low houses built of stones and peat covered with a green roof

© Przemyslaw Chmielarski, Agnieszka Trzcinska, Aditya Soman

a contemporary version of an icelandic house

The form of the award-winning building refers to the traditional architecture of an Icelandic settlement, consisting of low houses built of stones and peat covered with a green roof. The front, the authors say, represents the traditional building typology, while the rear, set deep into the hillside, following the shape of the hillside, blends with the surroundings to create modern interiors.

We named our design concept Mývatnssveit Eldaskáli, referring to Icelandic tradition and culture. Eldaskáli is the main hall located in the central part of a traditional Icelandic house, serving as the heart of the building. A place of gathering, socializing and relaxation for the entire household. We translated this function into a project that would unite the residents of the newly created community on Lake Mývatn. Eldaskáli would serve not only as a center for social activities, but also an exchange for used materials and items that are usually discarded, the authors say.

Projekt Mývatnssveit Eldaskáli, rzuty

Mývatnssveit Eldaskáli project, projections

© Przemyslaw Chmielarski, Agnieszka Trzcinska, Aditya Soman

Marketplace and multipurpose hall

The architects, in order to meet the competition guidelines, proposed a building divided into functions, separated by greenhouses providing natural interior lighting. Each wing of the building is designed for different purposes, such as education, recreation and tourism, and logistics, containing the command of the fire department and rescue team equipped with a separate entrance. The first floor, located below, combines the above three functions with a common garage, bulky waste collection point and technical rooms.

Sala z targiem

Multipurpose room with market

© Przemyslaw Chmielarski, Agnieszka Trzcinska, Aditya Soman

Three wings of the building lead users to the main hall, the Eldaskála, which serves mainly as a marketplace for various used items and materials that residents can exchange among themselves. After the market closes, the hall turns into a multipurpose room with an auditorium and a projection screen for movie nights.

Idea projektu nawiązuje do konstrukcji mebli z IKEA

The idea of the project refers to the construction of furniture from IKEA

© Przemyslaw Chmielarski, Agnieszka Trzcinska, Aditya Soman

Recycled materials and IKEA-like construction

The building's structure was made from recycled materials - driftwood dumped on Iceland's coasts and recycled plastic sourced from the fishing industry. The authors also used local materials, such as mineral wool for thermal insulation and volcanic stone, used on the facade and interiors.

Projekt Mývatnssveit Eldaskáli, diagramy wykorzystania energii

The authors planned to use solar, waste and hydroelectric energy

© Przemyslaw Chmielarski, Agnieszka Trzcinska, Aditya Soman

An important aspect of our project is designing from a "kit of parts" like a self-assembled piece of IKEA furniture. We designed the structure to be as modular as possible, with the maximum possible reduction of custom-made components. The design-to-disassembly concept assumes not only that the building will be built, but also that the individual components will be durable and easy to replace. There are no permanent connections in our concept, and most of the elements are prefabricated and assembled on site, the competition winners explain.

Also read about the design of a cafe at the foot of an Icelandic volcano by Kamil Brylka.

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