Lækjartorg Square to Get New Look

This is what Lækjartorg square will look like.

This is what Lækjartorg square will look like. Computer-generated image/Borgarlind

Vala Hafstað

Lækjartorg square, at the center of Reykjavík, will see major changes in the coming years, mbl.is reports. The winning proposal of a design contest, announced at the Reykjavík City Hall March 4, includes a round space at the center of the square. The proposal, called Civic Hot Spring (Borgaralind), was submitted by Sp(r)int Studio, Reykjavík, and the Dutch landscape architecture company Karres en Brands.

The square may look like this in winter.

The square may look like this in winter. Computer-generated image/Borgarlind


The contest was held last year by the City of Reykjavík and the Association of Icelandic Landscape Architects. According to the selection committee, the winning proposal “gives the square and adjacent streets a new width and a new and interesting role in the heart of the city.”

Austurstræti may look like this in summer.

Austurstræti may look like this in summer. Computer-generated image/Borgarlind


According to the website of  Karres en Brands, the proposal addresses the harsh local climatic conditions by maximizing sun exposure and wind protection, using local planting and topography to shelter. A ‘halo’ with a robust curtain protects from the wind and harvests the underground thermal heat, creating a comfortable urban space in the harshest conditions.

Architect Karl Kvaran, presenting the winning proposal.

Architect Karl Kvaran, presenting the winning proposal. Photo/City of Reykjavík


At the center of the square is a ‘hot spring,’ an urban interpretation of a natural hot spring. It is a low-lying water element cut in the terrain, defined by a long wooden bench with high protective backrest, designed to bring people together in a safe, sheltered and climatic comfortable space.

The ‘halo’ carries interactive lighting and a performative curtain, which can be closed to provide shelter or be used for performances and exhibitions. Various markets can take place around its edges.

For more information, see here .

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