B20 / PK Arkitektar


Architects: PK Arkitektar ehf
Location: Garðabær,
Design team: pálmar kristmundsson
Consultants: Tæknivangur Engineers / Lumex
Constructed area: 450 sqm
Project year: 2004
Photographs: Åke E:son Lindman

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The brief required the construction of a single family house on a site within a saturated residential quarter in the outskirts of Reykjavik. The area is located on the Arnarnes peninsula of Gardabaer a town of 8,000 inhabitants some 10 km from the capital Reykjavik.

The site is facing south to the Blikanes St. with a limited view to the sea across the presidential residence Bessastaðir.

situation plan
situation plan

The composition is two basic boxes layed out as to create an area of quietness within the complex. The void assimilates adjacent spaces and is generated with bare walls and a flow of indirect daylight from a 6 meters long sky window facing north. The two boxes are clusters of containers and house the living wing to the street and thr sleeping wing set to the back of the site. The atmosphere throughout the house is primarily obtained by the emptyness between the two boxes and the movements from container to container through that space. The flow of spaces is further enhanced by the continuous surfaces attained by the layering of openings contra massive heavy barriers. Frameless openings encourage views from one space to another. The entrance is a two story high space linked directly to the void connecting the two volumens. Kitchen, dining and living is a one and a half story high space with a huge corner window as the focus point capturing the view to the sea. The private wing is two story high housing the bedrooms and sanitarie spaces on the upper floor and a service and house keeper quarter on the lover one.


An exterior terrace and solarium, sauna, hot tub and gym is facing the south and the street and thus sheltered with a 1.8 meter high wall to prevent direct view from bypassers. This fortress plays further more the role of guiding the entrance path from the street to the main entrance.


Structural system is reinforced concrete walls and slabs. Main materials are plastered exterior walls with inlays of Icelandic Líparít stone stripes (Red Ryolite) and reflective glass in aluminum construction. Roof construction is flat concrete slabs insulated on the outside and covered with gravel. Roof light construction is cladded with zinc sheets. Interior walls are plastered. Flooring is sandstone tiles in public spaces and oak parquet in private areas. Suspended ceilings are gips carton cladding with sound absorbing quality and integrated lighting. Railings are toughed single green glass panels. Fixed interior furnitures oak lined with black interior are custom made from the design of the architect. Mechanical system is floor heating and cooling.

Cite: "B20 / PK Arkitektar" 03 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=33781>
  • Dustin

    Love the stone detail… any chance we can get a detail of it?

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  • Jeison

    Cozy modern. I really admire modern design where one feels confortable.

  • sullka

    I like it.

    I do find something strange in the program and organization, like:

    - there’s no entry (from inside the house) to the Gym/sauna area, it’s like “dettached” when it’s not….specially considering that the outside entrance is on the street side. Unless that “amphitheater-stair” from the second floor terrace is the connection.

    - All the “main” bedrooms in the second floor share 1 bathroom, yet it appears to be 2 full baths for 2 guest rooms in the first level.

  • Bobbo

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

  • FG

    Rather Aalto-esque wooden detailing, very Nordic (as, obviously, Iceland is). It would be interesting to see what, if anything, is being built in Iceland now, as I see this was 2004.

  • FG

    I’m also surprised that they needed cooling in Iceland…

  • bjorn

    so 1990, but with a hint of the 80´s..

  • nelcia


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  • Petra

    The design ok. But I am keeping on wondering, seeing this kind of “beautiful buildings”,
    why do we always try to make this kind of perfect architecture? There is a nice phrase of Arie Grafland I found in his book “The socious of Architecture:

    “The architects drawings and presentation techniques emphasize the very thing that can never be realized in society: Control over the process and the object. They actually have only one goal: that of a polished beauty.”

    I believe in what he expresses!

  • ebonvault