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Last month, I finally made it to the site of our first project in Iceland! You can find a bit of the project history in our previous post ‘ Autoconstruct’ https://socialskillsarchive.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/autoconstruct/

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My trip to Iceland was an overwhelming experience. There are familiar elements, shared with my native Ireland, but the rawness of the landscape lends it a surreal and alien quality. The biggest revelation for me was the islands’ colour palette – I immediately understood Sigrún’s love of grey and muted tones! From the rich mossy greens of the mountains, to the dusty navy of the berries that carpet them and bluish grey and soft pink rocks – the colours and their combinations are breath taking. I also got to know Sigrún a lot better, meeting the whole family (our clients) and getting a glimpse into their daily life, both in their townhouse in Reykjavik and their farmhouse at Nýp in Breiðafjörður Nature Reserve.

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Sigrún’s parents Sumarliði & Þóra bought the farm and 1930’s farmhouse at Nýp twelve years ago, and have transformed a derelict concrete structure into a busy bed and breakfast and thriving centre for local art & food. The family are also making significant improvements to the farmland. In association with other local farmers they have erected a fence to keep the omnipresent sheep off the mountain, beach and foreshore that make up their farm. This, along with the planting of hundreds of native saplings is allowing the native scrub to regenerate.

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The farmhouse sits at the mouth of a deep valley leading to Breiðafjörður

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The Interior of the refurbished farmhouse – A feast! 

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Purple flowers on the foreshore at Nýp

The majority of the food served at Nýp is harvested directly from the land and fjord – and it is delicious! Local fish, wildfowl, seafood, berries, seaweed and herbs are all on the menu. To supplement this natural bounty, the family grow a variety of fruit and vegetables in a large kitchen garden, set within the foundations of an old farm building.

Studio Bua have been asked to design an extension to the concrete farmhouse, to accommodate a further 4 ensuite rooms and to reconfigure the existing house in order to give the family more defined, private quarters. There is a desire to expand, but a need to maintain the unique and rather particular qualities of the existing arrangement.

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The Kitchen Garden

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It will inevitably be a collaborative process – which is an exciting prospect! The family and their friends will construct the extension, so the design must play to their strengths. Having recently refurbished the existing structure to a high standard, it is clear that there is a wealth of experience and skill in forming concrete and working timber and corrugated metal – these will form our palette. We expect the design to evolve on site, and hope to see the hand of the craftsmen in the final work.

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For more information about the bed and breakfast at Nýp visit; http://nyp.is/

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