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Reykjavik – colourful corrugated iron

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During the mid 19th C corrugated iron went universal, a construction material exported across the world.

In Iceland, corrugated galvanized iron arrived in the 1860s; according to Adam Moremont and Simon Holloway in Corrugated Iron: Building on the Frontier:

Ships travelling north from Britain to buy sheep would carry cargoes of corrugated iron to sell in Reykjavik, where it quickly became clear that the material was well suited to the isolated volcanic island with limited local construction materials.

Icelandic architectural vernacular – timber-framed, two or three story buildings with pitched roofs – developed in response both to the climate and an historical shortage of construction timber that can be traced back to the Viking occupation. They decimated the remaining ancient forests for shipbuilding timbers and allowed sheep to overgraze the land preventing regeneration of the forests.

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When heavily insulated, galvanised, corrugated iron over a timber or concrete framework proved a highly effective and long-lasting building material in the harsh Icelandic climate.

Colourful corrugated iron houses, called bárujárnshús, are to be found in their greatest concentration around the capital Reykjavík where extensive use was made of corrugated iron in reconstructing the city following a devastating fire in 1915. The following photos are of buildings in Reykjavík.

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Capital Area, Reykjavik, Iceland.

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Other posts in the ‘corrugated iron’ series can be found by clicking HERE.

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