Accepted Paper:

New townscape: contrasting perspectives on the uses of historical design and reframing of identity  


Vilhelmina Jonsdottir (University of Iceland)

Paper short abstract:

The poster illustrates and analyses different perspectives on plans for constructing a new centre in a small town in southern Iceland. The plan includes a cluster of thirty reconstructed buildings from around Iceland that all have been demolished or destroyed at some stage.

Paper long abstract:

The poster presents an ongoing research project addressing a case of a controversial plan for a new "historical" town centre in Selfoss, a small municipality in southern Iceland. The proposed plan includes a cluster of some thirty buildings, all recreations of older wooden structures in Iceland, recognised as significant for the country's architectural history. All of the buildings in the proposal have in common that they have at some stage been destroyed, either by fire or demolition. As they were originally located in various parts of Iceland, only a few structures stem from the town of Selfoss itself, which is generally considered highly modern in terms of the built environment. The proposed recreations date from various periods, and are accordingly varied in design and style.

Based on in-depth interviews with stakeholders, municipal authorities and locals the project interrogates different perspectives voiced in the debates focusing on conceptualizations of cultural heritage, authenticity and architectural tradition. The poster will centre around analysis of contrasting perspectives, particular to the case, on the use of historical designs in creating a new townscape aimed at effecting a sense of pastness for the benefit of the local population, business and tourism and aimed at reframing local identity. The case will be placed in the context of other controversial plans for historical recreations of the built landscape from Iceland and beyond.

Panel Post01
POSTERS: Ways of Dwelling: Crisis - Craft - Creativity