Corrugated Colours of Reykjavik

The houses of downtown Reykjavik keep charming visitors and locals alike with their rich and diverse colours.
These diverse coulour schemes take place on the corrugated iron plates that clad the old timber houses, built in the years 1870-1915, in particular.
Icelanders started importing corrugated iron from England in 1870. First it was used on roofs mainly, but soon the locals also started to clad walls with it in order to protect the timber.
After the turn of the 20th century, following “Bruninn mikli” or “the Great Fire” that destroyed 12 houses on Austurstraeti, central Reykjavik, regulations were changed to avoid further catastrophes. Regulations demanded fireproof material for building and corrugated iron provided the perfect shell. Light, strong, resistant and inexpensive, the corrugated iron also protects the timber beneath from harsh weather conditions, while letting it breath, thus providing a natural ventilation system of sorts.
Photos by Mira Mykkänen via Icelandic Design

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