Miscellaneous: Outside Reykjavik

I picked up my rental car the day before I was planning to head north to Akureyri, so took the opportunity to see some areas outside the city. Reykjavik has several sprawling satellite towns, but it within about 15 minutes any sign of urban settlement is gone and the rural landscape is dominant.

While idyllic red roofed farm houses, fields and sheep dot the landscape, artifacts of the trend of urbanization are apparent.

Scale sometimes seems distorted in Iceland. In many respects the island nation embodies smallness- but the landscapes are incredibly large and vast.  Outside the city the vistas reign, and I found that many interventions in the landscape remain light and subtle with close attention to detail, or incorporate materials that blend with the surroundings. For example, in areas of high traffic, simple wooden paths keep people to restricted areas and use color variations to suggest different types of paths.

At a stop along the road, a rock wall. While used in a way not integrated into the design of the building as a whole, presumably it provides thermal mass and creates a textural and visible connection to the nearby lava rocks.

My pre-trip research looked into the history of deforestation and the contemporary aforestation efforts. Along the road frequent examples of plantings are seen, as with this lonely line of trees.

Near the Hauladalur area, a replanted area of trees that has filled in.

Applications of geothermal energy are pervasive in Icelandic society.  Greenhouses warmed by geothermal hot water provide produce.


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