Reykjavík Art Museum

The new Art Museum occupies two floors of the south wing and three floors of the north wing of a concrete warehouse built about an open court between 1933-39. At the turn of the twentieth century the main pier in Reykjavík, Iceland's umbilical cord to the world, occupied the site. This link is reawakened in the Art Museum.

Externally the building is predominantly painted 'Fishery Protection Vessel' grey with the museum demarcated in white. A concrete canopy marks the entrance and new windows to the street contain hermetically sealed doors or allow glimpses into the south gallery. Internally the canopy reflects light into the double height lobby which is one of a series of spaces, lined with hot rolled steel sheets and black walnut floors, which collectively form the 'pier link'.

Flanking the lobby is the raw concrete museum shop and reception with white and walnut furnishings. Cloakrooms are contained within a crystalline glass box.

Bisected by the pier the court is split into a large external exhibition space and a small multipurpose room each with white concrete floors. Two 7x4m steel doors allow the pier to open to the court and two pairs of multi-folding steel doors offer an array of openings to the room. A skylight box illuminates the pier and at night it's glow fills the court.

The pier is terminated on the north façade by two huge glass panes on the ground and first floors. These openings serve the library and café respectively.

The six galleries share a common pallet of concrete and white but placement, form and scale give each one a distinctive character. Generally daylight is admitted indirectly to the galleries and sliding or folding plates allow total black-out when necessary.

Delivery, workshop and storage are all located on the ground floor and accessed from the harbour side. Administration and the Architectural Archive is located on the second floor next to an external sky gallery on the roof of the multipurpose space.

Client : City of Reykjavík
Architects : Studio Granda
Structural Engineers : Línuhönnun
Electrical Engineers : Rafteikning
Environmental Engineers : Vídsjá / Lagnataeki
Acoustic Consultant: Steindór Gudmundsson

Further reading...

Icelandic Environmental Services Association Award 2001
Finalist, Blueprint Architecture Awards 'Best Public Building Refurbishment' 2001
Nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award 2001
Organization of Disabled in Iceland Access Award 2000