Keldur development area - Competition results

The City of Reykjavik and Transport for the Capital Area launched earlier this year an international competition for a strategic urban development plan for Keldur, one of the largest competitions that has been held in Iceland. The competition was intended to find high-quality proposals and interdisciplinary teams to be involved in the work ahead, in designing and planning a new urban quarter.

The conclusion of the jury

"The conclusion, with one entry selected as a winner and two entries given recognition, is an important milestone on the way towards the development of the Keldur area. The 36 entries submitted in the first stage and the 5 that were developed further in the second stage constitute a thorough exploration of the challenges and opportunities inherent in the site, given the high aspirations. Therefore, the next steps can be taken with some confidence that the winning and recognized entries provide a sound basis and guidance for the development of the area."

Teikning af nýju hverfi á Keldum.

Winning entry 536 points

Crafting Keldur

  • Authors: FOJAB Arkitekter
  • Consultants: Ramboll

The proposed development is based on the consistent application of urban blocks around a convincing and realistic Borgarlína route, with strategically located stations and urban centers. This approach uses the land well and allows flexibility in the distribution of density, while also allowing good permeability. The depicted urban form is fairly homogeneous but also robust and open to diversification without altering the basic approach. This may be called for to ensure sunlight access and adaptation to the topography. In testing for added density, a storey is simply added in certain areas, which may be somewhat simplistic.

The proposal presents a comprehensive and well thought out network of routes for all modes of transport that is consistent with the mixed uses and the provision of services. The social mixing strategy is convincing, using a hierarchical approach.


The placemaking is presented in a way that is localised and site specific, with multiple interventions that create an appealing character. The overall scheme should be able to create a unique neighbourhood with quality of life. One of these special places is an eco-pool that may not be fully realistic given the tidal variations, but could be representative of other playful alternatives.

In developing the proposal further, current research facilities at Keldur should be integrated better into the scheme.

Overall, the main focus is on urban development, whereas existing features, such as trees and buildings could have more prominence. The proposed green corridor could have a more naturalised shape.

The phasing strategy is straightforward and well communicated.

The communication of the entire proposal in text and images is particularly good, with informative visualisations that indicate careful study of the topography.

Recognized entry 420 points

Connect Fast + Live Slow

  • Authors: Mandaworks

In this proposal a clear and firm boundary is defined between the landscape areas and urban areas. Density is achieved through interesting and diverse building typologies, concentrated around the Borgarlína stations. The green landscape areas are substantial in size, raising questions about the utilisation of the land.

Borgarlína is routed convincingly through the urban areas in a well worked out solution. The parking typologies are varied and integrated thoughtfully, matching a multimodal network. Street connections with adjacent neighbourhoods are proposed. Integration of green spaces and sustainable drainage is well thought out.

Overall, the approach is somewhat conventional and suburban in nature, with an insufficient placemaking strategy. Even with a multimodal network provided, the cars are given some priority.

The communication of the proposal is generally good and interesting to see seasonal variations in the visualisations.

Recognized entry 396 points

Urban Life Meets Keldur Park

  • Authors: Masu Planning

The entry provides interesting ideas and clear graphics about urban form and parking arrangements with intense integration of nature into the urban spaces.

The principal characteristic of this proposal is the concentration of density in the east section of Keldur, with two Borgarlína stations on that side and only one in the west section. This leaves questions about the utilisation of the land unanswered, such as why the value of some of the most lucrative parts of the site is not realized and simply left for future development.

The proposal succeeds in weaving the multiple objectives together while many aspects, such as social mixing, public spaces and sense of place are treated sensibly but with a lack of site specificity. The phasing scheme assumes that built areas are surrounded by construction sites.

Fourth entry 314 points

The Green River

Authors: WERK Arkitekter

This entry takes a very different approach that is excellently communicated. The draft presented in stage 1 was intriguing for further exploration with a vision stated through 13 dogmas that are largely aligned with the objectives stated in the competition brief. The emphasis is on the green aspect, leaving large parts of the site undeveloped. This leaves questions about the realisation of the value of the land.

Social mixing and mixed uses are reasonably well treated but the urban pattern is not consistent with the Borgarlína route and the opportunities that the station areas could offer in a transit oriented development. Car traffic is mixed with the Borgarlína and overall the traffic scheme is somewhat suburban in nature.

The description of the urban blocks gives good consideration to water management and green areas but a hierarchy of public spaces is missing, that could provide centrality in strategic locations. Phasing is well communicated and thought through.

While the visualisations are well crafted, they could have focused on informing about the integration of key concepts rather than putting specific details in the foreground.

The proposal is consistent in applying the vision presented in the 13 dogmas but not always convincingly achieving the intended results.

Fifth entry 311 points

Keldur - Weaving Natural and Urban Fabrics

  • Authors: Arkís arkitektar, Landslag og Mannvit
  • Consultants: KPMG

The proposal provides ambitious density while effectively communicating the green fabric. The mixed uses and location of services is well thought out and pragmatic. The topography is used to create five character areas within the site.

The building typologies suggested are diverse but leave questions about the quality and attractiveness of the public realm that they enclose.

The Borgarlína route meets the technical requirements well, avoiding the steepest slopes. This, however, takes the route towards Vesturlandsvegur where the Kálfamói station is quite peripheral, even if the green lid over to Grafarholt could be realized, which is uncertain.

Substantial changes in the existing street network are proposed with unclear benefit.

Many of the illustrations have limited appeal and information content.