Iceland Trekking Cabins Reading List

Remote settlements in harsh environments pose especially difficult design challenges for architects. Buildings may need to be largely self-sufficient, with enclosures designed to protect during unpredictable weather patterns. Construction methods must account for availability of regional materials and equipment, or alternatively must consider the economic viability of prefabrication and transportation.

The following books provide insight into Icelandic architecture and design related to the often remote and difficult-to-navigate sites of Iceland’s trekking trails.





Habitation in Extreme Environments, by Rok Oman and Spela Videcnik
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This publication features the academic work of a 2014 Harvard GSD studio, which investigated a prototypical design for a compact mountain habitation in Slovenia. The program mandated a design solution for sleeping and cooking accommodations for up to eight people. Habitation in Extreme Environments documents the studio’s investigations into environmental conditions and design responses to strong wind loads, heavy snowfalls, avalanche risk zones and freezing temperatures.


Iceland and Architecture, by Gudmundur Ingólfsson and Peter Schmal
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Iceland and Architecture is a survey of the history and current state of Iceland’s unique collection of buildings. Essays span topics from the use of concrete to the birth of modernism, and focus on projects that range from shopping centers and offices to geothermal baths. The book offers a rich array of photographs documenting Iceland’s towns and villages, as well as its more remote sites.


Prefab Architecture: A Guide to Modular Design and Construction, by Ryan Smith
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Prefab Architecture is a reference manual which touches on all aspects of factory-produced modular building components. The book argues for prefabrication as a solution to better building systems integration, implementation of green design strategies, efficient site delivery and simplified assembly.


The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment, by Reyner Banham
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“…the shade of a single tree, the closing of a door or the lighting of fire in a spare bedroom might make the difference between tolerable and intolerable conditions.” In The Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment, Reyner Banham argues for architecture as a form of technology, and encourages thinking about design as the equal integration of the mechanical and the functional. Originally written in 1969, Banham’s teachings remain relevant today.


If you have any other recommendations for resources that may be useful, please feel free to email us with the name of the book, a short description of it and why you feel it would be beneficial to other Iceland Trekking Cabins competition participants.

Open architecture competitions

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    Selected winning projects have the potential to be constructed
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    Experimental competitions with the focus on pushing the boundaries of creativity
ideas COMPETITION
The Last Nuclear Bomb Memorial

Design a memorial that speaks to the cause of ending all nuclear weapons programs

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Dec 15
Jan 27
Apr 21
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ideas COMPETITION
Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge

Design affordable housing solutions for Toronto

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Dec 16
Jan 28
Apr 22
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project COMPETITION
Omuli Museum of the Horse

Reimagine a historical primary school into a museum for horses

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Dec 14
Jan 26
Apr 23
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ideas COMPETITION
SKYHIVE 2021 Skyscraper Challenge

Fourth annual competition to redefine the modern-day skyscraper

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Dec 17
Jan 29
Apr 23
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project COMPETITION
Sleeping Pods on a Cliff

Design a series of sleeping pods for a Portugal yoga retreat

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Dec 18
Feb 01
Apr 27
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project COMPETITION
Tiny Kiwi Meditation Cabin

Design a meditation space in New Zealand

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Dec 21
Feb 02
Apr 28
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project COMPETITION
Spirala Community Home

Create a community home for the Spirala Ecological Village

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Dec 22
Feb 03
Apr 29
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ideas COMPETITION
Berlin Techno Booth

Bring back techno music to the streets of Berlin by designing individual dance booths

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Mar 23
Apr 20
Jul 06
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ideas COMPETITION
Modular Home Design Challenge 2021

Design a modular dream home

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Mar 24
Apr 21
Jul 07
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essay COMPETITION
Essay: Modular Architecture

How modular design has impacted architecture?

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Mar 25
Apr 22
Jul 08
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ideas COMPETITION
Hospice - Home for Terminally Ill

Design a safe and supportive space for those struggling with a terminal illness

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Mar 30
Apr 27
Jul 13
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project COMPETITION
Romantic Cabin For Two

Design a romantic and secluded cabin for two in New Zealand

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Mar 31
Apr 28
Jul 14
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project COMPETITION
Monte d'Oiro Wine Hotel

Design a new hotel set within a beautiful Portuguese Monte d'Oiro vineyard

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Apr 01
Apr 29
Jul 15
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essay COMPETITION
Essay: Architecture of Illusions

Do you have something to say about illusions in architecture?

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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Apr 02
Apr 30
Jul 16
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ideas COMPETITION
MICROHOME 2021 - Small living, huge impact!

Design a new concept of small-scale architecture

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN MAGAZINE
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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May 11
Sep 07
Nov 02
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project COMPETITION
Legendary Bird Home 2021

Design a bird home to fund wildlife charities

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PRODUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

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May 11
Sep 07
Nov 02
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ARCHITECTURE COMPETITIONS

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