In the Elliðaárdalur natural park in the centre of Reykjavík sits an old power station, which at its construction in 1948 was situated well outside the city’s boundaries. Running on coal and oil, the plant was built as an emergency power station in case of failures at the main hydro-electric plant and in order to boost the energy supply when the local energy system did not suffice. The station was decommissioned in 1980 but the original interiors and machineries were left more or less unchanged. Since the financial crash in Iceland in 2008, a part of the 6,400m2 building has housed a centre for innovative and creative individuals – with offices, workshops, and a production area.

In order to fully utilise the building, improve accessibility, and enable a good overview, we proposed moving the main entrance to the north end of the turbine hall. The hall could then be opened up and used as a communal space for the three main sections of the surrounding building. The structure of the building is generic with several contrasting areas, making it flexible and adaptable for almost any type of programme.

The 3,000m2 boiler room on four floors could for instance house a school, a hotel, offices, or apartments, with shops and services on the ground floor. The 1,300m2 coal room on two floors could house a theatre, gym, workshops, studios, an art gallery, or a museum. The old office wing – which spans two floors and still houses offices on the upper floor and workshops on the lower floor – could retain its current function. The choice of pogramme is perhaps not the main issue at stake, as long as it is diverse and attracts a number of people to the building and the natural park.


Andri Gunnar Lyngberg Andrésson, Guðni Valberg, Jón Davíð Ásgeirsson


Rosario Badessa


Elliðaárdalur, Reykjavík, Iceland


City of Reykjavík


Mixed use


5.860 m2