During the last decade increasing attention has been drawn to Iceland, an island in the midst of North Atlantic Ocean 21/2 times the size of Switzerland, but with a population of just 326,000 inhabitants.
The beauty of this inhospitable and deserted paradise triggers much curiosity and fascination. The particular geology of this oceanic island with around 30 active volcanoes and thousands of the famous geysers provides a sublime extra-terrestrial landscape. These geological conditions generate also substantial energy resources. Consequently the land has been increasingly targeted for industrial development.
Iceland Lessons, the latest volume in the Teaching and Research in Architecture series, presents the findings of the recent campaign on Iceland by the students and faculty at laba as well as architectural projects based on the new research. The campaign's objective was to explore potentials that could emerge from the relationships--and areas of conflict--between architecture and landscape, urban and rural, culture and nature, artificial and natural, and human and non-human, rather than promoting growth, urbanization and industrialisation, or upholding concept of Iceland's nature existing as a single autonomous object that should be kept intact. The new book investigates the spatial and ecological impact of a hypothetical industrialization of Iceland and questions the relationship between these seemingly opposing categories.laba (Laboratory Basel) is the Basel-based satellite studio affiliated to the Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne's (EPFL) School of Architecture, founded in 2005 and directed by Swiss architect Harry Gugger. Its goal is to offer a well-rounded education allowing architects to understand the design and building process in its entirety and to be pro-active participants in this process. Teaching and Research in Architecture is laba's series of publications.
Iceland has fewer than 350,000 inhabitants, with half in Reykjavik, but the beautiful yet sparsely inhabited island in the North Atlantic is rich in natural resources. In particular, its huge hydrothermal and geothermal potential allows for the production of sustainable energy, which can be utilized in various industries. As a result, Iceland has become increasingly attractive for industrial development.
Icelandic Lessons presents the findings from recent research efforts undertaken by Laboratory Basel (Laba), founded in 2005 as a satellite studio affiliated with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Swiss architect Harry Gugger established the studio with the aim of offering an all-encompassing education that enables architects to understand the design and building process in its entirety, and thus be proactive participants in the creation of the built environment. The objective of Laba’s most recent research was to investigate the potential spatial and ecological impact of industrialization on Iceland by exploring key areas of conflict, including the relationships between landscape and architecture, rural and urban areas, and nature and culture, among others. Highly illustrated with photographs, maps, and plans, the book presents not only a carefully imagined future, but also the part architecture and design can play in making it better.