Honourable Mention: set in the bleak glamour of south Iceland, this sensitive and spacious house crowns a riverside hilltop
When four Icelandic communities opted to merge in 1998, the resulting municipality of Sveitarfélagið Árborg became one of Iceland’s largest, geographically. Yet with a mere 7,826 inhabitants it remains characteristic of the country’s enviably low population density.
While Reykjavík and Kópavogur are abuzz with projects proposed well before the financial crisis, a few hours’ drive is all that is required to encounter moody Nordic desolation. PK Arkitektar prove their ability in both settings.
Set on the banks of the glacier-formed Hvita river, the Árborg holiday house’s simple open plan spans a mossy hilltop. Gravel from the riverbed mixed with the external concrete creates a textured, pre-weathered aesthetic, while its corrugated form recalls traditional Icelandic structures.
Organised around a central corridor connecting the compact guest rooms to incredibly generous living, dining and terrace spaces, the interior is finished almost entirely in untreated teak boards that will weather over time, lending the interior an intimate warmth despite the scale of its spaces.