Turfhouses were the main type of houses in Iceland until last century. A house built from turf, with stone cladding and/or a wooden frame. The National Museum of Iceland is currently working on several nominations of turfhouses in Iceland to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Two Icelandic places are already on the World Heritage List today, Þingvellir and Surtsey. An exhibition, At the Eleventh Hour, is currently available for viewing in the Gallery of the National Museum. It was an Icelandic student in architecture in Copenhagen who initially sent an encouragement to Danish architecture schools to start registering a selection of Icelandic turfhouses before it was too late. In close cooperation with the National Museum of Iceland, the schools organized a number of study trips to Iceland in the 1970s and selected certain houses to study. The research expeditions opened the eyes of many to the need to preserve Icelandic architectural heritage.
At the exhibition, we look into the lives of the surveyors and get an insight into the research and their results. The registration of some of the houses is useful for their protection and subsequent renovations. However, most of the turf houses were eventually demolished or collapsed. In many cases, this registration and research are the only records available for those buildings. As stated in the introduction of the National Museum: The exhibition is well organized, and a great window into the world that was.
Reykjavík / Suður – Þingeyjarsýsla : 05/10/2022 – 07/06/2020 : A7C, RX1R II – FE 1.4/24mm GM, 2.0 35mm Z
Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson