Liz and I visited Iceland in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the small country. The outer-worldly landscape is the obvious reason most tour Iceland, but the architecture in Reykjavik I found to be equally fascinating, especially the Harpa Concert Hall design by Henning Larsen Architects.
I find I am most drawn to public buildings that become part of the landscape, buildings inspired by the land, while also effectively creating a public space for all to experience and enjoy. Harpa is exactly one of those buildings. It sits on the land’s edge with the sea reflected on its western facing glass facade, designed to mimic the shapes and fractured pattern of the country’s basalt columns.
The all glass building changes throughout the day with the changing light and was absolutely breath taking to experience at sunset. While tourists around me were taking in mother nature’s stunning display of last light, I found myself in complete awe of this mountainous structure with my camera in hand.
And to think, Harpa almost never made it to completion. Following the 2008 economic crash, Iceland was hit particularly hard, the country’s government didn’t bail out the banks, and there were no funds to finish the project. The county debated what to do with the now symbolic building and decided it was worth investing in, so they finished it themselves.