THG Arkitektar: Icelandic bespoke architectural design solutions
By Alejandra Cerda Ojensa | Photos: THG Arkitektar
Located in a small island nation, the Icelandic architectural firm THG Arkitektar has developed a special expertise for understanding different needs. Founded by Halldór Guðmundsson in 1994, before the first architectural school had even opened on the island, THG Arkitektar has today grown to a team of 38 people, and the firm plans, designs, manages and realises projects all over Iceland.
THG Arkitektar’s design spans from hospitality and the high-end sector to healthcare solutions and the educational sector. Because of the different needs of their clients, the firm is highly skilled at adapting projects to create beautiful and user-friendly solutions. Meanwhile, the site surroundings and nature are a source of inspiration and a starting point in everything they do.
“It’s crucial to look at the environment of a site; what we add to the location must harmonize with what’s already there, no matter if it’s nature or other buildings,” Frey Frostasson, a partner at THG Arkitektar, explains.
Elegant design with a sense of history
Through the years, THG Arkitektar has worked on a range of different projects. From 2015 to 2018 it completed Reykjavík Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton – a boutique hotel and ex-residence of the German consul Ditlev Thomsen. The building is from the 1830s and is situated in the oldest part of Reykjavik and the hotel’s interior design thoughtfully retains aesthetic traces of its history.
Recently, the new Iceland Parliament Hotel by Hilton was completed and has now opened its doors to showcase a sophisticated and detailed design – an impressive project in which the old and the new coexist, and the existing architecture is balanced with new, elegant design. “We left some original details and highlighted them, to showcase the long history of what now is Konsulat Hotel,” Frostasson says.
Another of the firm’s large projects is Klíník Ármúla – a medical centre whose space previously housed an entertainment venue. THG Arkitektar remodelled it into a modern hospital with surgery rooms, physiotherapy as well as a spa and a nursing centre.
THG Arkitektar has also realised residential buildings, as well as updating the design of Reykjavík’s largest shopping centre Kringlan – including a stunning remodelling of its new food and entertainment floor, according to the latest trends in the industry.
Sustainable island architecture
Iceland is known for its spectacular nature, with volcanos and glaciers topping the list of tourist attractions. But nature also serves as a source for renewable energy, the two main forms of which are hydroelectricity and geothermal. The country is also a big producer of aluminium – a lightweight, easy to maintain, and recyclable material.
“Because we live on an island, a lot of materials are shipped to Iceland – something I’d like to see change. At THG, we always strive to reduce our carbon footprint and use locally produced materials. We’re happy to see the development in the aluminium field,” Frostasson says.
The team at THG Arkitektar has a broad range of skills. They work with city planning, project management, and interior design, besides architectural solutions. At THG, you’ll find engineers, industrial and construction designers, interior designers, and, of course, architects.
“Iceland is a small country, meaning the market is limited, which has pushed us to cover lots of needs under the same roof. Our clients can feel safe with us managing the whole process, from planning for an urban environment, to creating great interiors. We have a unique ability to create bespoke designs and solutions for any project,” Frostasson concludes.
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