Growing upwards from a hilltop site in the centre of Reykjavik is the jagged outline of the Hallgrímskirkja Church with its 73 metre high tower , the largest church in Iceland . Despite its appearance this is no natural geological feature, but a concrete structure inspired by the local basalt formations left behind as lava cooled into thick upright columns. Commissioned in 1937, it is a perfect expression of the yearning of Icelandic architects in this period to find a new architecture with “ a native character and in harmony with the landscape ” (1).
State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson designed the building, but did not live to see its completion. Work only commenced in 1945 and continued after the architect’s death in 1950 by succeeding state architects Hörður Bjarnason and Garðar Halldórsson. The church was finally consecrated in 1986 (2).
Image : Hallgrimskirkja Church, Reykjavik, Iceland. © Paul Ashton / RIBA Library Photographs Collection
References (available from the British Architectural Library , RIBA )
- Schmal, P. C., 2011. Iceland and architecture? Island und Architektur? Frankfurt am Main: Deutsches Architekturmuseum. p. 23
- Abrecht, B., 2000. Architekturfuhrer Island (Architectural guide to Iceland) . Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt. p.105