The Governmental Quarter of Iceland
64° 08'53.3" N 21° 55' 46.6" W
FSR - Government Construction Contracting Agency
3 ha and 56.000 m² building surface
The Governmental Quarter of Iceland, placed in the center of Reykjavik, will be the heart of democracy in Iceland. To ensure ideal governance and participatory democracy, a transparency is needed in both ways, necessitating a political overview of the society, as well as citizen insight into the constitutional procedures. The analysis of the site and program engendered a quantity of diverse convictions, which jointly shaped the foundation for defining the project: the ambitions of public spaces defining the new governmental quarter. The masterplan is divided in four zones: Ministries, courts, government agencies, shops and services with a total building surface of 56.000 m². An imaginative, compacted, performing and appealing neighborhood is developed, which is also a natural extension of the city – a place where its citizens want to occupy, with new public spaces such as squares, parks, cafés and a visitor center. The quarter should be welcoming and well-organized with high security without becoming a citadel. All the ministries will be concentrated into a new government center, a courtyard building in a low rise, horizontal format, which respects the nearby historic city center while producing an ideal working environment. Such a strategy allows for organizational flexibility over time and generates a sense of interaction rather than separation. As well as the parks, the roofs of the buildings will be multi-functional green spaces in the city center. Vehicle access is limited and the streets and squares will be open to pedestrians and cyclists, accessible 24 hours a day throughout the year. The essence of the proposal lies in these large public spaces that could serve as a political ground, as a place for demonstrations, which become an icon of Iceland’s democracy and its government.