The Nordurbakki project is a component of a masterplan whose aim is to extensively remodel the seafront close to the old harbour of Hafnarfjörður, a small town between Reykjavík and Keflavík International Airport. The project consists of a compound of two apartment blocks enclosing a large rectangular courtyard open on the short sides, one of which faces the town and the other the sea.
Each block is composed of three floors of eight apartments per floor, plus a smaller penthouse level featuring two sea-facing units and two smaller units. The smallest apartment layouts are 80 m2, composed of an open kitchen and living area, a double bedroom, bathroom, a small utility room and a terrace. All these units face the town. Units of 130 m2 feature an interesting living and dining room facing on both the inner courtyard and the small streets that border the compound. These apartments also consist of one double and one single bedroom, one bathroom, a small utility room and two terraces. In the largest units, of 150 or 160 m2, a double and single bedroom, bathroom, utility room and terrace are found near the entrance; these are connected by a long hallway to a large open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area plus a terrace featuring amazing ocean views.
The main structure of the buildings is made of concrete. The cladding consists of stretched metallic panels with a gold tone.
The most remarkable part of the Nordurbakki project is definitely the inner courtyard. Inspired by modernist Brazilian landscape masters, this inner piazza is raised 1.2 metres above street level, with irregular and curved platforms of wood and flora bounded by corten steel arranged in a man-made topography above a bed of black pebbles and paths of dark concrete tile.
Stretched out to the sea like two ships at anchorage in Hafnarfjörður’s harbour, the buildings enclose a sort of classical podium such that the real protagonist of the space is the sea—a poem to the ocean, written in the stark language of architecture.