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The Governmental Quarter of Iceland










                                                            64° 08'53.3" N 21° 55' 46.6" W

                                                                                       Reykjavík, Iceland


                                         FSR - Government Construction Contracting Agency



                                                           3 ha and 56.000 m² building surface

                                                                                                  1st Prize

T.ark Architects

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.

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