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
Find on Amazon

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

  • Closest Deadline first
  • Project competitions first
  • Ideas competitions first
project COMPETITION
Legendary Bird Home 2020

Design a bird home to fund wildlife charities

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PRODUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Dec 13
Feb 11
May 14
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
SKYHIVE 2020 Skyscraper Challenge

Redefine the modern-day skyscraper

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Dec 17
Feb 14
May 17
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
San Francisco Affordable Housing Challenge

Design solutions for San Francisco affordable housing problem

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

registration deadlines

Dec 20
Feb 18
May 21
Register now
project COMPETITION
Vale De Moses Meditation Cabins

Design meditation cabins in Portugal

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 10
Feb 21
May 24
Register now
project COMPETITION
Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center

Design an iconic visitor center for Abu Dhabi’s unique wetlands natural reserve

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 14
Feb 25
May 28
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project COMPETITION
Mega Dunes Eco Lodges - Abu Dhabi

Design comfortable, sustainable visitor huts for the Abu Dhabi protected nature reserve

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 17
Feb 28
Jun 01
Register now
project COMPETITION
Monte d'Oiro Wine Tasting Room

Design an iconic space for guests to enjoy the wines and the views of this Portuguese vineyard

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 21
Mar 03
Jun 05
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project COMPETITION
Kurgi Observation Tower

Design an eco-farm observation tower in UNESCO biosphere reserve

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Jan 24
Mar 06
Jun 08
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
RE-Stock London Housing

Submit affordable housing solutions for the one of the world’s most iconic and expensive cities

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

registration deadlines

Jan 28
Mar 10
Jun 12
Register now

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