Iceland isn’t known for its abundance of forests and timber production, however some pioneering projects are starting to utilise wood sourced from Iceland’s Nordic neighbours to innovate in the rapidly growing construction sector. Since 2015 a large timber construction has given a new lease of life to Flatey Farm, located in the South East of the country. Taking inspiration from the local indoor football hall in nearby Höfn, a 4,700m2 gulam structure on the farm houses over 200 cows in one of Iceland’s largest dairy farms. The design of large wooden free-bearing frames also incorporates a natural ventilation system reducing the building’s energy demand.
With sustainability at the heart of the new business model, the developers sought out FSC certified timber, which is increasingly gaining traction in the Icelandic market. Based on a lifecycle analysis of the building, the carbon emissions associated with the timber, including transport, are 93,000kg CO2, which is significantly less than for a building of this size constructed from concrete and steel. The wooden structure has also created a more healthy environment for both animals and workers, as well as reducing the maintenance costs over the lifetime of the building. The building was also designed to be disassembled at the end of its life in a way that it can be easily reconstructed for new purposes such as a sports hall.
Photo credits: Limtré Vírnet.