Geothermal Pump Stations / PK Arkitektar

Courtesy of PK Arkitektar

In 1990 Geothermal Heating Authority launched an open competition for a housing design for the hot water wells. PK Arkitektrar’s provided the winning design out of over 80 entries.  This is the first of these buildings with others scheduled accordingly. These structures will stand as a symbol of the city of ’s commitment to the utilization of the natural resources.

The Geothermal Pump Station is a 14 sqm steel structure (3 by 6.5 meters) constructed of two stainless steel clad curvilinear walls separated by a door at each end. It prefabricated at an off site shop and transported in one piece to a hot water well. The building houses the mechanism on top of the well, that pumps the water to a central control from where it is distributed throughout the city.

More about this interesting project, drawings, photographs, and history of Reykjavík’s change to geothermal heating following the break.

Architects: PK Arkitektar
Location: Reykjavík,
Design Team: Pálmar Kristmundsson and Björn Skaptason
Consultants: Fjarhitun Engineers
Project Area: 14 sqm
Project Year: 1996 to date
Photographs: Spessi, Rafael Pinho, and Pálmar Kristmundsson

Courtesy of PK Arkitektar

Those who remember Reykjavík in the 20′s and 30′s, recall that sometimes on calm winter days, the smoke from the chimneys would produce a dark cloud that would settle over the city, and visibility reduced drastically. Despite this oppressive atmosphere, some men got together to plan how to harness the heat they knew was trapped in the ground under the city.

Courtesy of PK Arkitektar

In 1928 the first holes for hot water were drilled at Laugardalur in the heart of the city, today called The Washing-pools of Laugardalur.
In the following years a number of holes were drilled and today the number of holes within the city limits is about 50. The deepest holes are about 2 km, and producing up to 80°C temperatures.

Courtesy of PK Arkitektar

Every house of the city is heated to date with geothermal water making the old system of oil heating obsolete. When foreigners approach Reykjavik on a sunny and frost still winter day, they are amazed to see no smoke rising from the chimneys. The air is fresh and clean, and you can see from here to eternity.

Courtesy of PK Arkitektar

The vertical element hanging from the roof to the side of the building contains the air-conditioning system for the machinery, taking air from the top and pumping it down to the floor, creating a circulation of air, cooling the motor and creating over pressure inside to avoid dust from getting inside and damaging the motor system.

ground plan

Beside the air-conditioning element there is a pipe sticking out from the wall letting the steam created by the boiling water, out in the air. Leaving a steam stroke in the air, refers to the original meaning of the name, Reykjavík, meaning Smoke-bay, named by the settlers, mistaking steam for smoke.

Courtesy of PK Arkitektar

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Geothermal Pump Stations / PK Arkitektar" 20 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    It is very nice for technical building…

    • wpgmb

      fun project. i wish there were more of these infrastructural projects in north america.

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