Hofsós Swimming Pool: Integrated into the Landscape


Architects: BASALT Architects
Location: Hofsós, Iceland
Area: 400m2
Year: 2010
Photography: Gudmundur Benediktsson, Rafn Sigurbjornsson

Hofsos is a small fishing village in the northern part of Iceland. It consists of small-scale traditional Icelandic houses from the early twenties. The small scale of the surrounding village has been an inspiration in the design process for the swimming pool.

The site of the pool is by the coast on the main street leading to the village. From the site there is a magnificent view towards the Atlantic Ocean, where the island of Drangey lies on the horizon. In the wintertime the distant lights from the village of Saudarkrokur can be seen on the opposite shore.

The connection to the island of Drangey is of great historical and cultural importance. One of the most important characters in the Icelandic Sagas, Grettir, swam to this island to escape from a battle on the shore. The swimming pool is positioned facing directly towards the island, giving swimmers in the pool the feeling that they are swimming Grettir’s route to Drangey.

The swimming pool is delicately integrated into the landscape, cutting itself into the site and opening up towards the view of the ocean and the island of Drangey. The building and the landfill against the gables create protection against both the strong northern wind and noise from the road and the surrounding village. The building complex contains changing rooms, the swimming pool and two jacuzzis. The main construction of the building is cast-in-situ concrete, clad with industrial glazing elements. The industrial glazing is translucent, allowing daylight to flood through but without being transparent. This provides a special experience and comfort in the changing rooms. Icelandic handmade stones are used as flooring. The exterior lighting is minimized to experience the stars and Northern lights, which are frequent in this area during wintertime.

Site plan

Hofsós swimming pool is a donation from Steinunn Jonsdottir and Lilja Palmadottir to the municipality of Hofsós.

Partner in charge: Sigridur Sigthorsdottir
Design team: Sigridur Sigthorsdottir, Marcos Zotes, Rosa Dogg Thorsteinsdottir, Johann Hardarson
Lighting design: Gudjon L. Sigurdsson
Client: Private