Do we always need to build new?

For the first time since the building’s inception, our library is now just as empty as in the picture from before the house opened to the public. This iconic room, which has been so important for generations of Nordic book lovers in Reykjavik as well as all of us who have ever worked in the house, is closing. Temporarly.

Sure, it is drastic to close the heart of the house for several months, but the fact is that it is necessary, and now we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the extensive renovation we have been undergoing. It is just a matter of getting through this last heavy stage.

Sustainability and ecological thinking have been an important part of our renovation, and those thoughts reflect our programme this spring. In the visual and tactile exhibition Wasteland, a collaboration with the architecture and innovation agency Lendager, we try to provoke thoughts about innovative ways to reuse and integrate existing materials in future construction projects.

The exhibition is a commentary on the ongoing work on the new legislation for the construction industry initiated by the Icelandic Housing and Construction Authority (HMS). The exhibition allows visitors to contribute their thoughts on what the legislation should cover, and workshops on the matter will be organised in the exhibition.

Our programme for schools and families will also discuss issues of sustainability and architecture. This will culminate in the Design March festival at the end of April. There will be seminars, workshops and a children’s exhibition on architecture and urban planning in cooperation with our friend school Hólabrekkuskóli.

Even if we love architecture, or perhaps exactly for that reason, it is important to ask ourselves the question of whether we always need to build new. To renovate and reuse will always be the better alternative.