Housing website for Faroe Islands
The Faroese Houses The grass roofs are probably the first things you notice, and these have been a feature of the houses since the islands were first settled.
Architecture in the Faroe Islands … They were low houses built of stone and turf under heavy grass roofs, carried by a timber construction of driftwood and tucked …
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The Lord of the Rings analogy is never far away in the Faroe Islands, a barren and wind-swept archipelago whose volcanic peaks shoot out of the Atlantic …
Search among a wide selection of Faroe Islands Real Estate Listings or simply browse Faroe Islands Real Estate on Mondinion.com. Property in Faroe Islands, …
The Nordic House in the Faroe Islands – Norðari ringvegur – FO-100 Tórshavn – Faroe Islands – Tel +298 351351 – Fax +298 351350 – firstname.lastname@example.org. Developed …
The grass roofs are probably the first things you notice, and these have been a feature of the houses since the islands were first settled. In the Viking Age farmhouses had curved stone walls and the roof was supported by two rows of posts in a large common room with a longfire in the centre. Along the outer walls benches or seats were placed, a Faroese home today is still called a sethús (seat house) after these seats. And there is a good reason that the ancient name has survived, for on the Faroes the original longhouse lasted longer than any other place in Scandinavia.
The house, with its protecting stone walls and the large grass roof, gradually developed into the traditional Faroese dwelling with the stall at one end, in the middle the smoke room with the working and sleeping areas, earth floor and the open fireplace with the louver in the roof as smoke outlet and light intake. At the other end of the house was the glass room, the farmer’s fine parlour with windows and jamb stove. Inside the smoke room and glass room there were vertical planks set in a groove between the posts and sills.
This is the same construction that was used in the historic Norwegian stave churches, but in tree rich Norway the stave constructed houses were gradually replaced by the shorter loghouses with horizontal logs. The stave constructions, which required less wood continued in the Faroes until the beginning of the twentieth century. Gradually the stonewalls were replaced by wood, except perhaps in the ends of the houses oriented against the fiercest wind direction. From this originated the classic Faroese house a low and small longhouse, tarred brown or black with white painted mullioned windows, blending into the terrain under a large grass roof.
The churches were built in the same way. They were modest buildings, not much bigger than the other dwellings, but with a distinct difference: the little white bell tower, placed parallel or diagonally over the ridge of the roof. The inside of these churches are like chests made of untreated timber. All the designs are visible and simple, but every detail has its own special carving or image and the chancel wall, the half open wall between the nave and the choir, received the finest treatment.
Times changed and with the development of sea fishing new kinds of houses appeared. The longhouse was superseded by a more refined house on a high basement, and with dormers in the attic, but still tarred and with turfs of grass over a layer of beech bark. Then came fervent individualism, corrugated iron was placed as protection on the outside of wooden boards and together with the corrugated iron came paint in many colours. This colourful individualism has become respected through the years and even the authorities have supported it in later years, most directly in some experimental construction with individually built ter raced houses in the northern part of Tórshavn.
The painted roofs dominate, but you can still see new buildings with green grass. The most im portant of these is the Nordic House, where, as in the older dwellings, the roof lies over the house like a protecting wing and enhances the lines of the landscape. The grass still has something of a symbolic meaning and maybe it is a type of nostalgia when it is used on private houses. On the other hand it is a living material, which insulates and protects and requires very little aintenance. It also follows the beautiful seasons of the year and paints itself: brown in the autumn, white in the winter, burgeoning light green in the spring and lush green in the summer.
Erlendur Patursson (1913-1986), Faroese member of the Nordic Council, brought forward the idea of a Nordic cultural house in the Faroe Islands. A Nordic competition for architects was held in 1977, where 158 architects participated. Winners were Ola Steen from Norway and Kollbrún Ragnarsdóttir from Iceland. By staying true to folklore the architects built the Nordic House to resemble an enchanting hill of elves. The building is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Scandinavia. The house opened in Tórshavn in 1983.
The Nordic House is organized as a cultural organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic House is run by a steering committee of 8, of which 3 are Faroese and 5 from the outside Nordic countries. Also there is a local advisory body of 15 members, representing the Faroese cultural organizations. For a 4 year period, the steering committee appoints a director of the house.
”The combination of a national culture center and a center to impact culture between the Faroe Islands and other Nordic countries” was the brief for Ola Steen who designed the Nordic House.
In concept it is green with dragon like steel struts to provide stability against the strain that the hurricane winds often place on the 2000 m² turf covered roof. Inside the building there is a large lobby space that can house a number of simultaneous activities. There is a café and a recessed amphitheater. Exhibitions are organized here as well as cultural events. The Public areas can be subdivided or combined with light, sound and space defining elements. All of the rooms are daylit except for the 800 m² hall, which can be opened to the amphitheater and lobby, as the west end wall consists of movable elements. The bearing element in structure and space is the high in cast concrete wall in the large hall. Everything rests on it or relates to it. The large span of steel structure emanating from this wall gives space in the lobby for the organic, snakelike and supple stairs and ramp.
The materials used at the Nordic House come from all over Scandinavia. In the lobby and on the ramps is Norwegian slate from Gudbrandsdal. The wood flooring is Swedish pine. Ceilings in the hall and amphitheater are of Danish ash, and all doors and veneered furnishings are of Finnish birch, with Danish brass fittings. All the exterior materials originated from the Faroe Islands or were produced on the Islands except for the glass and anodized aluminum facades, which are Danish.