Deconstruction

In the interest of fairness, I thought I'd display some local cement for all to see.

UEA at least seems to have weathered the times a bit better than this building down by the shipyards of Reykjavík, but then again Icelanders haven't historically invested much expense or energy in erecting structures with millennia of usage in mind.

Houses and buildings go up, suffer pounding artic winds and salt corrosion for sixty years or so, then come down, replaced by fresh and more modern architecture. Very literally, the city of Reykjavík did not begin to emerge as more than a gathering of iron-clad timber dwellings until a century and a half ago. We have no indiginous architectural history aside from turf houses, though some would say our brightly-painted corrugated roofs count as local tradition.

Buildings like the one above were erected during the great Cod Boom of the Forties, and were purely a matter of form following function. Icelandic industry reached it's apogee after the Second World War, and cement in all it's variations helped fulfill the Nation's need for immediate urban development. Cement and rebar became the structural stuff of dreams, housing the hopes and visions, the industry and determination of the Icelandic people as they vaulted into the modern world with vigor.

4 comments:

Jóhannes Tryggvason said...

This building is also a monument to well-intentioned but financially unsound business plans of the dot-com era. A group of entrepreneurs bought this house and meant to turn it into an american style luxury condo. After gutting the house and spending quite a bit on advertisements the whole thing ran out of money. I wonder, will the renovations on this house ever continue?

L said...

it makes for a rather interesting/attractive photo...

Cy said...

I just can't get over the line "The Great Cod Boom of the Forties" ...

No ida why I find that so amusing. But it definitely made me smile this morning.

Professor Batty said...

If you go around to the left side of the building, a striking bit of graffiti with the apt title "Total F**king Destruction" is displayed above a pile of concrete slabs - I suppose you could call the whole thing an art installation?