Architecture in Iceland

Iceland is commonly known for its extreme weather, beautiful waterfalls, glacier lagoons, and moss covered lava rocks. What's commonly overlooked is Iceland's amazing range of architecture. Iceland has had a huge boost in tourism lately by wanderlust people looking to experience the desolate, seemingly uninhabitable landscapes. As I traveled around Iceland, I found myself drawn to the buildings as much as these harsh landscapes, often questioning how people could possibly live in these conditions. 

A clash between the new and the old, turf houses and eco-friendly homes co-exist together with a common theme of battling the ever-changing weather conditions, while keeping its inhabitants warm and dry. With an abundance of natural resources homes new and old work with what nature provides. Nearly all of Iceland is powered by its renewable resources, geothermal and hydropower. According to Askja Energy 20% of Iceland's consumption of energy comes from hydropower and 65% comes from geothermal sources. 

The juxtaposition of the modern eco-friendly homes sitting in these natural, often baron landscapes is one of the many unique things Iceland offers. This seemingly simple way of life with a modern Scandinavian flare draws people in with a feeling of inspiration and awe. Here are some photographs I took while traveling around Iceland. 

These stone houses often housed not only the people, but the animals as well. The animals create a natural heating source for the building, while the ever growing turf roofs act as insulation and waterproofing. 

These stone houses often housed not only the people, but the animals as well. The animals create a natural heating source for the building, while the ever growing turf roofs act as insulation and waterproofing. 

Farm powered by rushing stream of a massive waterfall. 

Farm powered by rushing stream of a massive waterfall. 

Church built on the highest point of the town so people can always find it.

Church built on the highest point of the town so people can always find it.

Blonduoskirja church designed by Dr. Maggi Jonsson to resemble an erupting volcano.

Blonduoskirja church designed by Dr. Maggi Jonsson to resemble an erupting volcano.

Entrance to Blonduoskirja.

Entrance to Blonduoskirja.

Doorway into the Blonduoskiria church.

Doorway into the Blonduoskiria church.

Farmhouse sits below a rugged mountain range.

Farmhouse sits below a rugged mountain range.

Eco-friendly Einishus Cottage with geothermal heating. http://www.einishus.com/

Eco-friendly Einishus Cottage with geothermal heating. http://www.einishus.com/

Kitchen in the Einishus Cottage. The large glass windows gave the feeling of being outdoors.

Kitchen in the Einishus Cottage. The large glass windows gave the feeling of being outdoors.

Living area of the Einishus Cottage. Simple, clean, and efficient.

Living area of the Einishus Cottage. Simple, clean, and efficient.

Entrance to the Einishus Cottage. Even the hot tub was powered by a geothermal hot spring.

Entrance to the Einishus Cottage. Even the hot tub was powered by a geothermal hot spring.

Turf house in Glaumbær.

Turf house in Glaumbær.

Back windows of a turf house in Glaumbær.

Back windows of a turf house in Glaumbær.

Turf house emerges out of the natural landscape.

Turf house emerges out of the natural landscape.

With 85% of the population considered Christian, churches are a huge part of the culture in Iceland. These buildings were often the largest buildings with the best locations.

With 85% of the population considered Christian, churches are a huge part of the culture in Iceland. These buildings were often the largest buildings with the best locations.

Hostel Vagnsstadir gives backpackers a warm and dry place to stay. Website

Hostel Vagnsstadir gives backpackers a warm and dry place to stay. Website

The owners of the the Hostel Vagnsstadir, live next door on this beautiful farmland bordering the ocean.

The owners of the the Hostel Vagnsstadir, live next door on this beautiful farmland bordering the ocean.

Turf house built into a rock.

Turf house built into a rock.

Blue Lagoon, the most popular geothermal spa in Iceland, known for its skin healing properties. http://www.bluelagoon.com/

Blue Lagoon, the most popular geothermal spa in Iceland, known for its skin healing properties. http://www.bluelagoon.com/

Blue Lagoon's water source.

Blue Lagoon's water source.

Krafla volcano geothermal plant. 

Krafla volcano geothermal plant. 

Landscape of the Krafla volcano.

Landscape of the Krafla volcano.