19th Century House of Worship Is Last Remaining Green-Roofed Church in Iceland

Posted on Design 226

When we hear about rooftop gardens, most of us picture comfortable lounging spaces on top of metropolitan high-rises. However, the Hofskirkja church built in Iceland takes rooftop turf to a different level as the design is both beautiful, historical, and extremely practical.

Built in the customary style of Icelandic architecture in 1884, the basic structure of the church includes wooden trees used for the foundation, with the roof constructed out of large stone slabs and then entirely covered by a layer of natural greenery. The concept originated to help shield residents from harsh winter weather and increase insulation. According to local records, the church was built by a carpenter named Páll Pálsson and a famous blacksmith of his time, Þorsteinn Gissurarson.

While there are still a few remaining turf houses in Iceland, Hofskirkja church is the last turf church standing today. Originally built in memory of Saint Clement, the building still functions as a parish church. However, the National Museum of Iceland maintains and preserves the church as it is considered one of the six church monuments in the Museum’s Historic Buildings Collection.

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Green-Roofed Church 1

Green-Roofed Church 2

Green-Roofed Church 3

Green-Roofed Church 4

All images via Creative Commons