Reykjavík residential architecture

I have been fascinated with Iceland’s architecture since we first got into Reykjavík and I saw all the corrugated metal and slanting roofs. At home, corrugated metal is reserved for unfancy structures like storage sheds. And California roof lines are different: apartment buildings are usually flat on top, homes sometimes too, and when there is a slope it’s usually a gentle one. But here there is a definite, recurring inverted-V shape across the city’s rooftops.*

Tall cluster of white apartment buildings

White house with blue roof and black trim

{as always, click on images to enlarge, or mouse over for description}

The building exteriors are so minimal that I feel as if the cityscape should look bleak, and yet instead the overall effect is very pleasing. Neat, clean, but far from characterless. 

Residential street

Grey house with Art Deco-ish feel

It helps that there is a lot of color: on the buildings, the roofs, in the public art (I’ll do another post on that sometime) — and when the weather is nice, in the sky above.

White house with red roof

House in two bright shades of neon green

Green house with interesting roof angles

Grey house with grey-green roof in interesting almost pagoda-like shapes

Round window with a snowflake design in the centerI did a little online research into the architecture of Iceland (eventually I got to this page, which I find completely enthralling) and it was very good reading, at least for me, since I get to walk around and see all this stuff! I plan to do another post sometime on the public architecture of Reykjavík — theaters, government buildings, and so on — and yet another one on street art, and probably one on fashion as well. The aesthetic here is so interesting. There are all kinds of European influences, particularly Scandinavian of course (and Iceland was part of Denmark for more than a century, from 1814-1918; did you know? I didn’t), but it’s still very distinct — probably because it is an island, and has such a unique volcanic and oceanic landscape. I’m grateful we get to see it.