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Stunning Icelandic Institute is an Ice-Frosted Eco Citadel
Posted By Bridgette Meinhold On January 5, 2011 @ 6:21 pm In Architecture,Green Building | 4 Comments
We showcase lots of beautiful green buildings here on Inhabitat, but some just blow our minds. The Icelandic Institute of Natural History designed by Icelandic firm, ARKÍS is a glittering cube of research facilities that shimmers like a glacier in the sunlight. The new research institute is clad in fritted glass that makes it appear as though it has been perpetually frosted over. It houses offices for 50 scientists, features a library and a specimen collection, and is part of a much larger master plan for the Urridaholt development, which is sweeping up awards for both architecture and sustainability.
The institute’s volume is inspired by the bodies of insects as well as the nearby Mount Keilir , which is mirrored in the prominent form of the front of the building. Two fissures separate the building into three masses, which helps reduce the building’s volume to the human scale of the streetscape. The fissures contain glass-walled walkways highlighted by bright green walls that break up the office environment for employees as they walk from one part of the building to another. These breaks create a closer connection to the surrounding environment by providing strong visuals of the earth and sky.
The upper floors of the building are enveloped in a double-glass facade that assists with the building’s natural ventilation scheme, daylighting and weather shielding. The glass is fritted  with a pattern specially designed for the building that resembles the formation of ice crystals. These beautiful ice crystal formations diffuse light as it enters the building, reducing glare as well as heat gain. Iceland is located at a high Northern latitude, so the glass is designed to take advantage of low sun angles. Exposed concrete frames the glass and creates a contrast to the translucent material.
Images ©ARKÍS/Vigfus Birgisson
The institute’s responsibilities include researching and monitoring nature, and its stunning new building makes a strong case for sustainability and ecological stewardship in the area surrounding it. The backside of the building features a green roof  with local turf and moss, which works to infiltrate rainwater, and permeable surfaces in the parking lot and swales around the building slow stormwater. The habitat of local insects and birds is minimized with the addition of the green roof and swales.
The double glass facade  is part of the building’s natural ventilation scheme, and each office has at least two operable windows to encourage air flow. Natural daylighting and access to views of the surrounding landscape are also important building strategies. The research institute was recently completed in October 2010 as part of the Urridaholt master plan, which has already won awards, including the Award of the Boston Society of Architects and the Nordegrio Award. The institute is currently undergoing BREEAM  post construction assessment, which they expect to complete the Spring of 2011.
+ ARKÍS 
Via Dezeen 
Images ©ARKÍS/Vigfus Birgisson
Article printed from Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building: http://inhabitat.com
URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/stunning-icelandic-institute-is-an-ice-frosted-eco-citadel/
URLs in this post:
 Mount Keilir: http://www.nat.is/travelguideeng/plofin_mt_keilir.htm
 glass is fritted: http://inhabitat.com/beijings-tallest-tower-by-som-celebrates-grand-opening/
 green roof: http://inhabitat.com/category/green-roof
 double glass facade: http://inhabitat.com/surry-hills-library-australias-new-standard-of-sustainable-excellence/
 BREEAM: http://www.breeam.org/
 + ARKÍS: http://www.ark.is/#/verk/natturufraedistofnun
 + Icelandic Institute of Natural History: http://www.ni.is/english
 Dezeen: http://www.dezeen.com/2011/01/05/icelandic-institute-of-natural-history-by-arkis/
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