Churchyard Offices and Staff Housing for Gufunes Cemetery completed by Arkibullan – architects in 2007

The 12 Days of Architecture: #11 Reykjavik, Iceland

Churchyard Offices and Staff Housing for Gunfunes Cemetery by Arkibúllan

A cemetery is not perhaps the place where one would expect to find an architectural gem, but this building - built in 2007 by Icelandic architectural firm Akibúllan - in Reykjavik's main cemetery is one of several new and interesting buildings situated in the suburb of Gufunes.

Like much of the landscape in Iceland, the site is littered with lumps of volcanic basalt rock. Positioned on a hill, the building's central block is clad in basalt stone with an irregular pattern of windows punctuating it.

A stark white concrete block tops the main building, akin to a thin layer of permanent snow. A lower building is clad completely in white concrete and set into the rocky terrain. Using the rock as its main material, the building both contrasts and melds into its surroundings.

Since 2007 Akiibúllan has completed the remaining buildings of Gufunes Cemetry including a church and in 2008 the complex was nominated for the Annual Cultural Awards by Icelandic newspaper DV.