Optional excursions during and after the conference. Registration and further information to be announced.

1. Architectural history walking tour in Reykjavík on Thursday, October 12 (included)

Late-afternoon tour leaving from the National Theater of Iceland and ending at Tollhúsið.

Guide: Sofia Nannini,
Assistant Professor, Politecnico di Torino, Italy

Concrete Reykjavík
How did cement, sand, and gravel become the dominant materials in twentieth-century Icelandic architecture? This short walking tour will bring us to the origin of concrete construction in Reykjavík. Starting from Guðjón Samúelsson’s National Theatre (1925–50) to the nearby Culture House (1906–08), through the Parliament House (1880–81), and on to Landakot Church (1925–29), we will see how these buildings experimented with concrete technology to play a pivotal role in Icelandic architectural history.

2. Post-conference excursion will be on October 14 (SOLD OUT)

A full-day tour leaving from a bus stop close to Harpa Concert Hall at 9:00 am and arriving back late afternoon.

Guides: Anna María Bogadóttir, architect / LHÍ and Arinbjörn Vilhjálmsson, architect.

This one-day excursion tells the story of the transformation of Iceland into simultaneously an object of extraction, an object of aesthetic contemplation and consumption, often at the same time.

The Program

  • Harpa, Bus stop 5 (departure time Bus 1. 08:30, Bus 2. 9:30)
  • Hellisheiðavirkjun
  • Ljósafossstöð
  • Sólheimar - Eco-village (lunch)
  • Keldur
  • Auðkúla
  • Harpa, Bus stop 5 (est. arrival time 16:30 / 17:30)


The same geological activity that forms Þingvellir’s unique climate as a meeting place, right down to its acoustic capabilities, is what causes water to gush out of the ground 55 km to the East, in the form of Geysir. It is what heats Icelandic homes cheaply and cleanly, contributing to political cohesion around a fixed interior climate in a harsh country, shaping Icelandic building typologies, and drives one of the most ambitious carbon projects to date in the form Carbfix—the ambitious pumping of captured carbon back into lava rock using geothermal energy. All of this is made possible by the boreholes—massive engineering feats of a megastructural scale, capped by geodesic domes designed by architect and Frei Otto and Buckminster Fuller collaborator Einar Þorsteinn Ásgeirsson.


Throughout the 20th Century, Icelanders built progressively bigger dams, a process visible in the Sogið river. The same hydropower that has served as the eroding counterpoint to “creative” geological activity for millennia and delivers electricity to Icelandic homes and the bright lights of Harpa conference center ushered in a hunger for heavy industry in the form of aluminum smelting, which dominates the economy along with fishing. In the future, the same energy might not only drive the Icelandic fishing fleet, thus taking care of the second (fishing) and third (aluminum) largest economic sectors, but also the airplane fleet, thus taking care of the largest—the Icelandic tourist industry, driven as it is by the consumption of waterfalls around the country’s ring road, the biggest one being Geysir’s counterpart in the so called Golden Circle, the Golden Waterfall (Gullfoss).

The Route

Geopower and hydropower. Land and landscape. Production and consumption. An architect who straddles many of these dimensions is Einar Þorsteinn Ásgeirsson, a student and employee of Frei Otto who invited Buckminster Fuller to Iceland, and we will be able to follow in some of his footsteps in our journey. He sold his geodesic dome design to the National Power Company of Iceland and is now featured in all their promotional materials, and we will visit them on our tour to Hellisheiðavirkjun geothermal power plant, our first stop of our trip. We then take a break from Einar Þorsteinn as we explore a sequence of hydropower plants, from the youngest (Steingrímsstöð, 1959) to the oldest, (Ljósafossstöð that electrified Reykjavík in 1937) to the one that put Iceland on the path to heavy industry through its Marshall-funded energy supply of the State Fertilizer Plant (Írafossstöð, 1953). Together, these three hydropower plants tell the history of Icelandic electrification as simultaneously a rural and an urban, continuously expanding project. From Ljósafossstöð we head to Sólheimar for lunch (12:40). Sólheimar is a sustainable community where more than 100 individuals live and work together.

Further afield, after a visit to Iceland’s oldest intact turf house, Keldur , crown jewel of the National Museum of Iceland’s “building collection,” we will witness Einar Þorsteinn’s interpretation of that tradition in the form of Auðkúla, a geodesic dome covered by a turf roof—the space age meeting the ground, as it were. After Auðkúla, we are almost done. We drive west to Selfoss, Iceland’s experiment in New Urban, Frankfurt Alte Neustadt style Disneyfication, but with a twist, and enjoy a bite to eat and a stroll, before ending back in Einar Þorsteins last masterpiece, the sculptural facade of Harpa Concert Hall itself, co-designed with Ólafur Elíasson.

Please consult the bibliography for the tour HERE


IUA disclaims responsibility for any instances that are the result of an event of force majeure during the excursion. Those can be but are not limited to; loss or damage of property, accidents, sickness, changes in scheduling and labor disputes. IUA reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries, or departure times, without prior notice, should the necessity arise. In case of any changes in flights (domestic and international), the shall pay any additional cost caused by this. We advise all travelers to have comprehensive travel insurance to meet all contingencies. IUA will not be responsible for any injury, illness, death, loss (for example loss of enjoyment), damage, expense, cost or other sum or claim of any description whatsoever which results from any of the following:

• The act(s) and/or omission(s) of the traveler(s) affected or any member(s) of their party.

• The act(s) and/or omission(s) of a third party not connected with the provision of the services, and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable.

• Circumstances beyond IUA’s control as defined under Force Majeure.

3. Other tours to book if arriving early or staying longer

Are you arriving early to Reykjavík or plan on staying longer and want to do sightseeing?

Have a look at the most popular tours HERE.