Reykjavík: Harpa


Summer in Iceland is surreal. The closest I’ve been this far north during the summer is a visit many years ago to Copenhagen. The energy in the air is ephemeral.

Because of the jetlag, and well, endless summer light, we tended to head out later than normal and came upon Harpa at some “off” hours, but luckily it was still open. This trip was summer of 2017.

We approached the building after a beautiful walk right along the water, which while chilly, was a preview of a Icelandic landscape. Its harsh, but romantic in its raw natural grace. What struck me about the building was how little framing seemed to stand in the way- with the beehive structure and monotony of the exterior- being able to see through the building was breathtaking. The corners were weightless.

Compared to the typical Scandinavian aesthetic which is light wood with white on white and pops of color, Harpa was really just black on black. The interior of the building was very dark and intense.

The windows were beautifully executed and I loved looking onto the harbor in the back of the building. There were sections closed that I would have loved to explore- lots of nooks and crannies of details. I can only imagine the complexity of the plans for this construction.

Odd, but maybe not for me, is that the parking lot is worth checking out. Even the garage had considering for the lighting installation. There’s so much interesting architecture that I’d still love to explore in this country- looking forward to another visit someday.

Website: Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Address: Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland