New Streetscape in Reykjavík, Excavation Launched Skip to content

New Streetscape in Reykjavík, Excavation Launched

The streetscape of Kirkjustraeti in central Reykjavík changed yesterday when Skúlahús, a building which used to stand on Vonarstraeti 12, was placed on the corner of Kirkjustraeti and Tjarnargata, next to the historical Hotel Skjaldbreid on Kirkjustraeti 8. An excavation project will now be launched where Skúlahús used to stand.

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From mbl.is‘s video of the event.

Skúlahús, which used to stand opposite Reykjavík City Hall, is the heaviest building to have been moved in Iceland. It was moved 50-60 meters and turned 180 degrees, Morgunbladid reports.

Sigurdur Einarsson, architect at Batteríid, said it is “a relief that the house has landed.” Before the move it turned out that the house was approximately 40 tons heavier than originally assumed. According to ruv.is, the house’s weight was estimated at 82 tons.

“We had calculated the weight down to the last screw so the only explanation for how wrong our calculations were is that the framework of the building was filled with rocks. That wasn’t uncommon at that time,” Einarsson explained.

Speaker of parliament Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir wrote in an article in Morgunbladid last year that during the excavation near the parliamentary building, many more significant archeological remains were unearthed than people had expected to find.

Regarding the new streetscape of Kirkjustraeti, she calls it an integral series of old buildings along the entire street which matches the successful restoration of buildings on the corner of Adalstraeti and Kirkjustraeti.

Skúlahús is named after district commissioner, MP and editor Skúli Thoroddsen, who had it built in 1908. Both Skúlahús and Hotel Skjaldbreid, which will be renovated, will now serve as offices for the parliament, ruv.is reports.

After the archeological project on Vonarstraeti 12 is completed, additional facilities for the parliament will be built there. The new house will include an exhibition hall to display the archeological remains, including a walking path made of timber.

Among other remains found on site, which are believed to date back to the settlement of Iceland in the 9th century AD, is an iron pot for making iron from moor and various other objects.

Click here to watch a video of the move.

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