Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Project Leader: Craig Rosman
Though it only services a few commercial flights a day, Reykjavik’s international airport performs a vital role in the politics of Iceland. For many living on the island, the airport is the single access point to the capital and the country’s only major hospitals, academies, and cultural institutions. Located in the center of Reykjavik, many consider the runways more valuable to the city if turned over to private development. Rather than consolidate the airport with its larger sibling, Keflavik, 50 km outside the city, this project seeks to strengthen the importance of the airport as a multi-modal transportation hub and center of civic and urban functions.
In re-envisioning the airport as an urban node, the complex gains several programs that complement the terminal and its surroundings. Connections between city and country, visitor and citizen are intensified by adding density to the site and ‘fusing’ its many uses. By reorganizing the disparate private hangars, terminal buildings, and cargo storage sheds surrounding the runways into a single structure, the airport capacity is able to expand to 3 full-size runways. In addition to a new terminal, the project also creates a new bus terminus, includes a hotel and connects and expands the adjacent national hospital. The greenway connecting the university and the government center is extended into the site, furthering its connection to the city.
The many activities and movements of people occurring on the site are equalized by the roof placed over the complex. An inert circular form, the roof and its translucent columns recondition the light qualities below, creating an atmospheric switch for the users. Indifferent to the landform and its context, the structure aims to shuffle visitors and citizens, resetting one’s awareness of the city.