Hof is a new country residence in the Skakafjordur fjord, less than 100 kilometers from the Arctic Circle.
The spectacular location, its remoteness and special program, fueled a unique rapport between the client, contractor and architect, resulting in a building that is in every respect a direct consequence of that collaboration.
The existing assemblage of buildings on the estate included a house, church, barn, and cowshed, clustered on a riverbank. Further inland are recently constructed horse stables.
The wide fjörd has a mountainous rim punctuated with long valleys embracing the cliff islands of Drangey, Málmey, and the graphic foreland Thordahofdi. The new residence is slightly removed from the old cluster on raised ground, with each room and space orientated to capture the magnificent panorama.
Externally the house rises from the tufted site as a series of sheer cedar and concrete walls that will weather according to the vagaries of the elements. The displaced field grass is reinstated on the roof, and the surrounding meadow is cut and folded in earthworks of turf and stone, that open ways to the entrance and terraces.
Hexagonal basalt pillars were excavated from the site during the preparations for the foundations and the external surfaces are paved in this material. Internally the same stone is used throughout the living and circulation areas.
Most internal walls are of raw or painted concrete and the ceilings, doors and other carpentry are predominately of oiled sawn oak with steel details; a rustic palette offset by smooth painted planes.
Although dramatic views fill the interior the ambience is augmented by a secondary system of clearstory lights and other roof penetrations that orchestrate daylight throughout the house. The exception is the dogleg route between the living and bedroom wings where lighting is reduced to a few pinpricks.
In a gesture of refinement and escape the kitchen and bathrooms enjoy marble surfaces, suggestive of more habitable latitudes, whereas the larder’s glazed white tiles and basalt shelves is a reminder of the need to stash food for harsh winters.
We asked for a photo of the larder and got this response from Steve Christer of Studio Granda: “I’m afraid that I only have this construction shot with duct-tape holding the shelves until the adhesive sets. But you can probably imagine how it looks stuffed with tinned food and other icelandic delicacies. It’s my favorite room.”