The Nordic Built Challenge is a sustainable building renovation competition with the objective of encouraging innovation and the development of sustainable, viable, and scalable refurbishment concepts for some of the most common building types in the Nordic region. The Icelandic part of the competition was to upgrade a building complex at Höfðabakki, an industrial site that is undergoing redevelopment as a sustainable office complex.

The aim of the proposal is to create a new identity for the site – to upgrade it and create a strong ensemble of office buildings and service areas. The design should fulfill the most stringent regulations in terms of sustainability and local solutions, while at the same time satisfying the needs of those who occupy the area. Architectural interventions are intended to revolutionise the rather dull area into a desirable brand that will attract high value companies and respected professionals.

The site in its entirety is made greener by relocating the majority of parking spaces underground, and by including areas filled with wild, Icelandic nature and wetlands, as well as a central botanical garden with clear geometrical shapes.

The arch-building is modernized and thoroughly renovated while respecting its original architecture and character. The main goal is to minimize energy consumption with simple components whose combined effort will create a neutral indoor climate within the redesigned building.

New two-storey volumes are built between the existing structures of the low-rise building, an area currently being used as a parking lot. These new infills close off the centre towards the street, creating two roofed atriums with cafes, meeting rooms, and other informal meeting points for staff and guests.

Our proposal includes a new compact, six-storey office building on the parking lot in the north-western corner of the site. Its physical presence is essential for the definition of the area as a whole and its size and proportions are derived from the arch-building. Together the two buildings define the main entrance into the new office park. The building also creates a barrier from the street, which helps to delineate the garden between the three main buildings.


Andri Gunnar Lyngberg Andrésson, Guðni Valberg, Jón Davíð Ásgeirsson


EFLA Engineers, Landslag, Björn Teitsson, Hallgerður Hallgrímsdóttir, Ingvar Eggertsson, Sigurður Arent, Vala Þóroddsdóttir


Höfðabakki, Reykjavík, Iceland