Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

“To Build Out of a New Material with a New Form”. The Arrival of Concrete in Icelandic Architecture and the Rhetoric of Guðmundur Hannesson

Version 1 : Received: 8 September 2018 / Approved: 13 September 2018 / Online: 13 September 2018 (10:11:59 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Nannini, S. From Reception to Invention: The Arrival of Concrete to Iceland and the Rhetoric of Guðmundur Hannesson. Arts 2018, 7, 68. Nannini, S. From Reception to Invention: The Arrival of Concrete to Iceland and the Rhetoric of Guðmundur Hannesson. Arts 2018, 7, 68.

Journal reference: Arts 2018, 7, 68
DOI: 10.3390/arts7040068

Abstract

The quick modernisation of Iceland, that rapidly took place from the first decades of the 20th century onwards, did not only bring fishing trawlers and cars into the country. Among all the techniques of modernity, concrete [steinsteypa] was to become the key material that changed the built landscape of the island and was soon adopted by the first Icelandic architects, such as Rögnvaldur Ólafsson (1874–1914) and Guðjón Samúelsson (1887–1950). Interestingly, the main supporter of this material was Guðmundur Hannesson (1866–1946), a medical doctor and town planner who wrote several articles and even a guidebook published in 1921 and titled Steinsteypa. Leiðarvísir fyrir alþýðu og viðvaninga [Concrete. Guidebook for Common People and Beginners]. In a country that was seeking an architectural self-representation, he understood the technical and formal possibilities that concrete could offer: he claimed, “people [...] were trying to change, to build out of a new material with a new form” (Guðmundur Hannesson 1926, 14). This essay aims thus to retrace the rhetoric of Guðmundur Hannesson and his role in writing an Icelandic chapter of the history of concrete, from its early stage of unmodern trial-and-error to the definition of a modern Icelandic architecture.

Subject Areas

concrete; construction history; Iceland; Reykjavík; Guðmundur Hannesson

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