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Elements: A House in Touch with Nature

Classic Iceland Eyes, re-posted from July 2010:

"This building and its companions, nestled into the foot of a cliff on the south coast of Iceland between Seljalandsfoss and Sk√≥gafoss, 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 very similar to 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 house. 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." 



Anonymous said...

Alva, beautiful imagery. What a great home concept. Rock, tree, and sacred home!

-Kevin (

Jane Hards Photography said...

Lovely written text, thoughtful to accompany the beautful image.

Iceland Eyes said...

Thanks to you both ~.~ And Kevin, glad you're still stopping by...I really enjoy your site as well : )

Unknown said...

Just found this blog post with the link to my website about my Eichler home in San Mateo, California. My wife and I have made two trips to Iceland in 2012 and 2013 and we loved everything about your amazing country and the wonderful people who live there. What a surprise to find a link to our home in your blog!

Iceland Eyes said...

Wow, Barry, what a trip! I love these kinds of's one of the main reasons I've kept posting for the past decade. And your home is, of course, lovely.

My sister and her husband bought our Cupertino Fairgrove home (with the same basic floorplan) off of my parents, who've moved back to Reykjavik, so we still get to enjoy it when visiting CA : )