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Icelandic Institute of Natural History

Construction Design

Arrowstreet, as part of an international design team, created a sustainable master plan for a mixed-use community on a spectacular hilltop site in Garðabær outside of Reykjavik. The Icelandic Institute of Natural History was the first office/lab building to be built in the project, and is already getting noticed around the world for both its beautiful design and its sustainability features. Arrowstreet served as design consultants to the architect-of-record, Icelandic firm ARKIS, and led the sustainability effort.

From the beginning of the master planning process, through design and construction of the retail buildings, to construction for The Institute of Natural History, Arrowstreet raised awareness, provided systems information, design, and encouraged the use of green roofs and other sustainable design strategies for the project.  The site features a shallow lake, meadow, and wetlands that are important to the environment and project.  Arrowstreet proposed the use of green roofs, permeable pavements, bio-swales, and other measures to maintain the natural hydrologic cycles and systems on the site.  All of these strategies either have been or will be employed in this project.

The Institute of Natural History is a 35,000 square foot office, lab, and artifact archive for flora, fauna, and geologic materials and specimens. The design was inspired by the nearby Mount Keilir as well as the sectioned forms of the insects the Institute collects and studies.

The Institute is one of the first buildings of its type in the country to receive BREEAM certification, an international standard for sustainable design and environmental performance.

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Comments (1)

One Response to “Icelandic Institute of Natural History”

  1. John Cole says:

    Nice article. Also, the building sits in a protected lava field (Icelanders are very protective of their lava).

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