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

  • Closest Deadline first
  • Project competitions first
    Selected winning projects have the potential to be constructed
  • Ideas competitions first
    Experimental competitions with the focus on pushing the boundaries of creativity
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
The Last Nuclear Bomb Memorial

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

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
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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ideas COMPETITION
SKYHIVE 2021 Skyscraper Challenge

Fourth annual competition to redefine the modern-day skyscraper

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
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
Register now

ARCHITECTURE COMPETITIONS

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