White Arkitekter has designed a development that could bring life to the uninhabited hillsides of the Faroe Islands, an archipelago that forms part of Denmark.
The Scandinavian architecture firm won the "Vertical Challenge" category of the Nordic Built Cities competition, which called for a family housing development on Runavik. The island is one of 18 that lies between Iceland, Scotland, and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean and is known for its steep terrains, strong winds, and geothermal heat.
The Eyes of Runavik development comprises five blocks of ring-shaped, three-story buildings with 100 homes in total. Each building will be built using timber and local sheep's wool and will have an area measuring almost 190,000 square feet. The five structures will connect to each other and the town through pedestrian pathways.
The innovative building designs create a distinct harmony between nature and man-made additions and are intended to have a low impact on the island terrain. The design calls for a less-invasive building technique than is used in the traditional stone foundations found elsewhere on the islands, attempting to mold to the natural contours of the landscape with minimal foundation work. The angled green roofs on each building, for example, mimic the island's sloping terrain.
Drawing on historical farming methods for inspiration, the inside of each building ring is designed to have its own microclimate in which residents can cultivate crops; the outside is surrounded by a meadow and left undisturbed by construction. The structure of the buildings will also protect the crops from the island’s vicious winds and allow residents to enjoy time outside while being shielded from the elements.
An additional goal of the project is to create a net-zero community, with the dwellings employing Passive House building standards and renewable-energy techniques.
The competition jury recognized The Eyes of Runavik's scheme for "creating new thinking in relation to traditional construction in Runavik."