This building and its companions, nestled into the foot of a cliff on the south coast of Iceland between Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, are probably my all time favorite structures on our island. I assume they were used as livestock shelters, built as they are as extensions of the gnarled but somehow soothing rock that towers above them.
It reminds me of the home of a girlfriend of mine in Cupertino when I was ten or eleven. We lived in an Eichler home exactly like the one in this picture , and she lived in one as well, but with a different floor plan. All Eichler designs have the common conceit of allowing the outdoors into the home by use of walls of glass, plant-filled atriums, skylights and high open-beam construction. This is fairly common in modern homes today, but in the 1950's this was all extremely cutting edge. What I found so appealing about my girlfriend's home was that there was a huge tree growing up through the enclosed courtyard in the center of her home. We had pretty shrubs and plants in ours, but she had a whole tree!
I think I would like to wake up in the morning and be able to reach out and run my fingers along a wall of stone that was once a lava flow, now frozen in time, softened into smooth curves and ripples by the elements. I would feel protected by the immensity of the cliff above me, like a baby penguin secure at daddy's feet. It would be wonderful knowing I was sharing the rock with ravens and eagles and mosses and ferns, and that I was integrated into the natural landscape while still experiencing human architectural ingenuity. The best of both worlds.
Some day I will live so close to the ocean that the sounds of the waves will lull me to sleep, and a tree will grow through the center of our home, and ancient rock will comprise a wall, or a floor. Glass will flow the sun and the stars into our home and every day will be a symphony of the elements enveloping our lives.
Posted by Iceland Eyes on July 28, 2010