The block bounded by Vonarstræti and Lækjagata has been the site of various buildings, sheds and huts, the remains of which can be traced back to the first settlers of Iceland. The inhabitants were also very different characters and it is this mix of built and cultural diversity that makes our cities so compelling. Þorður Malakoff, the resident of the turf house Lækjarkot, was well known for his colorful exploits and it is after him that the hotel is named.
The building is five storeys high with a basement that overlooks a sunken moss-garden. The ground floor is traversed with pedestrian routes that wrap around glazed volumes and link into the existing city fabric. The transparency of the retail units, bar and restaurant makes them present and welcoming to both hotel guests and city dwellers. At the heart of this floor, beneath a day-lit atrium, is the reception. A staircase spirals up around this space that gives light and orientation to each floor.
The upper street facades are mostly shrouded with an airy concrete screen that should provide ideal conditions for the natural growth of lichens and moss. The screen is imbedded with a graphic memory of the 60's bank building that previously occupied the site and, in parts, it is perforated with lager openings that echo the fenestration of adjacent buildings. A portion of the Lækjagata facade is clad in palagonite rock with a roof form reminiscent of Malakoff's home. The rear walls of the hotel are of sheer, in-situ, concrete with a regular punctuation of windows and balconies. Over time this manmade cliff will be enveloped in a veil of ivy.
The top floor is stepped-back with private balconies for the fully gazed grand suites and their walk-out bathrooms. On the roof of the hotel is a terrace from which to experience the midnight sun, the aura borealis and the new years eve fireworks.
Client : Islands Hotel
Architects : Studio Granda in association with Gullinsnið architects