The Iceland University of the Arts (Listaháskóli Íslands, or LHÍ), will be uniting all of its departments in a single, specially-designed facility in the Tollhúsið building in downtown Reykjavík, Iceland’s cabinet announced in a press conference this week. LHÍ has operated its departments in several disparate facilities since its inception in 1998. A design competition will be launched this autumn where participants will aim to show how all of the university’s operations can be consolidated under a single roof in Tollhúsið.
Government acts to strengthen creative industries
Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson announced the decision at a press conference on the Suðurnes peninsula last Tuesday, where the cabinet also presented several other measures in support of the arts. The initiatives include establishing a research centre for the creative industries at Bifröst University and the Creative Iceland project, which would work on advancement within the creative industries in Iceland as well as their export. At the conference, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir pointed to research showing that Iceland’s creative industries make a significant economic contribution to Iceland, while also stating they have immeasurable value toward forming the nation’s identity.
Built in 1970 to welcome cruise ship passengers
Located near Reykjavík’s Old Harbour, Tollhúsið was designed by Gísli Halldórsson and completed in 1970. Its original design included a harbour warehouse on the ground floor and a customs office for cruise ship passengers arriving in the harbour. After Sundahöfn harbour came into operation, however, activities at the old harbour decreased. The building features a mosaic by Gerður Helgadóttir from 1973 depicting the harbour activities before the construction of Tollhúsið. The street below the mural is now under construction to transform a parking area into a pedestrian square.