Betristofa borgarinnar (Cities Living Room) is an urban guerrilla group. It was founded by a group of architecture students from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts who all had the passion to shape the urban environment. The group got a grant from Reykjavík City in the year 2010 and 2011.
Our vision of down town Reykjavík was like being at our grandmothers living room, you shouldn’t touch anything, things are the way they are supposed to be! We wanted to change this image by transforming poorly used public spaces in the Cities Living Room for better use with cheep and simple solutions.
Reykjavík City: Take part in creating a better city
Austurstræti (East Street) is the main street in central Reykjavík. In the summer 2010 the Municipal of Reykjavík wanted to change Austurstræti by blocking the traffic to change it to a pedestrian street. Subsequently we were asked by Reykjavík city to make the street more appealing.
With our installation we wanted to bring life into the dark and grey Austurstræti with vivid colours and at the same time create a friendly environment were the people could dwell.
Káratorg was a parking lot for five cars that we took over. We thought of this place as an ideal public square even though it hadn’t been in the discussion. Therefor we had a plan to point it out!
On the square we placed many L-shaped forms made from plywood that could be used as chairs, benches, play equipment and etc. It looked like the forms had been randomly placed but they had a hidden message. If looked from one specific angle at the intersection the word TORG (SQUARE) appeared. This installation was therefor not only to transform the parking lot into a dwelling place but also to make people more conscious about the importance of their environment.
Óðinstorg (Square of Odin) is a parking lot for 13 cars. Being a dense neighbourhood and far away from the nearest public space Óðinstorg is a perfect spot for a public square. By using euro pallets and turf it was possible to make dramatic change of the spirit in the neighbourhood with little cost. The people took the green square with a warm welcome, specially the youngest generation. This installation showed everyone that there is both a will and need for Óðinstorg to be a public space.