Friday, January 27, 2012

Straumur artist residence in winter

Straumur means "stream" in Icelandic, in the meaning of "flow". It can also refer to an electrical current, a large river, or a large moving group of people, animals or vehicles, but the meaning in this case probably refers to the tides. The beautiful old house, which dates back to 1927 or 28, was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, the same architect who designed the Hallgrímskirkja, the National Theatre, main university building and any number of churches, lighthouses and other buildings around Iceland.

The inlet the house stands by, Straumsvík, is beautiful and unique. The ponds or pools in the lava are full of fresh water which floats on top of a layer of salt water. The surface of the ponds rises and falls with the tides, but the surface water stays fresh.

Some of the lava ponds with Straumur in the background:

Below: An old hut that stands by the road down to the aluminium smelter. What it was originally, I don't know, possibly a fisherman's hut, but when I peeped inside it contained a couple of rows of what could have been shoe shelves or wooden seating on the wall, a couple of rusted lockers and a mattress. Possibly a dressing room for bathers?

Straumur was once a working farm, but now belongs to the city of Hafnarfjörður and is an art centre and artist residence.Coming from Keflavík, you can see it on the left hand side just before you get to the aluminium smelter.

The house with surroundings:

The house reflected in the nearest pond:

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