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						Inside this week:
The lcelandic Weekly
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on page 7
Lögberg Stofnaö 14. januar 1888
Heimskringla Stofnaö 9. september 1886
111 Argangur
111th Year
Publications Mail Registration No. 1667
Föstudagur 4, apríl 1997
Friday, April 4, 1997
Numer 12
Number 12
A Príze Winning
Story to be Filmed
¦ The film com-
pany "Umbi" has
bought the right
to film Böðvar
books based on
the Icelandic
Westfarers, "Híb-
ýli vindanna" and
"Lífsins tré,"
which won the
Böðvar Cuðmundsson, Icelandic Literary
wri,er___________Award in 1996.
Sveinbjörn I. Bladvinsson and Guðný
Halldórsdóttir will write the scripts to
a full length motion picture, as well
as a three hour T.V. documentary —
particularly aímed at the Iclelandic
market. Halldór Þorgeirsson, of
Umbi said, in an interview with
Morgunblaðið, "This is a great story
and we felt that, to be fair, 150 minutes
was minimal time to bring this to
Icelanders. It will make an ideal T.V.
program around Christmas."
The script writers will soon begin
their work with Böðvar as their
consultant. According to Halldór,
"Böðvar is more knowledgeable about
the Western Icelanders than anyone we
have. While writing the books he
visited Canada and the USA at least
three times. Böðvar got the idea to
write the books after finding, at his
father's house, a shoebox full of letters
from his relatives who had moved to
the land of opportunities."
The story takes place at Borgar-
fjörður. The main character is travel-
ling around with a shoe-box, out of
which he pulls stories from the New
World (Vesturheimur). Halldór's
Continued on page 2
lcelanders un their way to the land ofopportuniries.
Rögnvaldur Ólafsson
The First Icelandic Architect
Hjarðarholtskirkja, dedicated 1904
Translated by Gunnur Isfeld
lcelandic Editor
Rögnvaldur Ólafsson was an
important pioneer in Icelandic
architecture and he is commonly
seen as the first Icelandic architect,
although poor health cut his education
short. His accomplishments were un-
believably many, considering his short
working life. His first project was
Hjarðarholts Church in Dalir which he
sketched in 1903, and only 13 years later
he drafted his last buildings while a
patient at the Vífilsstaðir Sanatorium,
where he died on February 14, 1917.
During this short time and while
fighting a serious disease, Rögnvaldur
sketched numerous houses and public
buildings in Reykjavík and in towns
around the country, includ-ing schools,
hospitals, post offices, etc.
During these years Rögnvaldur also
made no less than 25 drafts of churches,
a feat unsurpassed by Icelandic architects
— even those attaining a long life. These
churches vary a lot. Some are small,
simplistic, inexpensivebuildings. Others
larger more elaborate and artistically
ambitious. This is true of the Hjarðarholt
Church and in particular the Húsavfk
Church, which must be considered
among Rögnvaldur's most excellent
works and one of Iceland's few archi-
tectual gems. We will here take a look at
Rögnvaldur's chúrches and his short
tenure as an architect.
Education and Work
.Rögnvaldur Ágúst Ólafsson was
W _—i----1__..¦—¦—!__Wmtt7
born at Ytrihús at Dýrafjord on December
5th, 1874. His parents were Ólafur
Sacharíasson, a farmer, and Verónika
Jónsdóttir. They moved to Isafjord where
Rögnvaldur grew up. He had a late start
in school; studied with Pastor Þorvaldur
Jónsson before his entry into the Latin
School in Reykjavík in 1894 at age 20.
Rögnvaldur was an excellent student
receiving top marks in the school's four
grades. He graduated in 1900 and went
on to study philosophy at the Seminary.
The following description of Rögn-
valdur was given by his classmates:
Rögnvaldur Ágúst Ólafsson is of medium
build, not good looking, but cheerful and
smiling, face — pale and thin with a large
nose. A gifted and very good student. A
tactful, mild tempered man. Merry and
entertaining in conversation, know-
ledgeable and a good storyteller. Good
actor. Very interested in architecture
which he studies tenaciously. Good
sketcher. Interested in school activities
but unpolitical and not decisive. Was
secretary for the "Framtíðin" and on the
board of fþaka and president of the
Templerance Association. A temperate
man in every way.
Enterprising men found in him a
worthy person with special interest in
architecture. This resulted in a grant issued
to him by the Land's Fund. Rögnvaldur
sailed to Copenhagen in the fall of 1901 to
study architecture at the "De tekniske
Selskapers Skole." The school had a three
year preparatory study in sketching for
upcoming technicians or artists.
It was during this time that Rögn-
valdur was diagnosed with tubercu-
losis. He worked and studied and did
some sketching for professor Fenger, a
well known house-builder in Copen-
hagen. In 1903-04 Rögnvaldur's illness
took a turn for the worse. The result was
that he cut his education short in the
spring of 1904 and returned home
without completing his sketching exams
and thereby lost out on education at the
Royal Art Academy.
Disappointed he went to ísafjord
where he recuperated with his mother.
His father, Ólafur, had died.
In spite of this Rögnvaldur was the
right man at the right time in Iceland.
Continued on page 7
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