Lögberg-Heimskringla - 15.10.1982, Blaðsíða 5

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 15.10.1982, Blaðsíða 5
WINNIPEG, FÖSTUDAGUR 15. OKTOBER 1982-5 Ingolf's Pillars: The changing Icelandic House Continued from page 4 ranean structure equally appropriate, but settlers rarely transplanted the old house forms. In 1878 S.B. Olsen emigrated from Iceland to Nova Scotia, then in 1885 he moved to a new settlement in the Thingvalla District. In his little book, Pioneer Sketches, Olsen remembered that his father first cut logs from his own land and built a log house, which burned almost immediately in a prai- rie fire. Then his father made an ex- cavation of the south side of a hill. The walls were seven feet high at the front. The facade was sod, and the roof was poplar poles with sod on top. Several other Icelandic families erected the traditional semisubterran- ean hut, but without the stable beneath. But Olsen notes that in this "thoroughly Icelandic settlement," "nearly all the houses were búilt of logs, chinked, plastered, and white-- washed." A few Icelanders experi- mented with log houses with turf built up around the outside — an in- genious way to circumvent the disad- vantage of the herringbone turf pat- terns used in the traditional passage house. Sigurbjörg Stefánsson, whose parents settled near Wynyard, Saskatchewan, writes: "The earliest lodging followed no traditional pat- tern, but was largely shaped by poverty, lack of tools and materials, and the urgency of the moment . . . As soon as possible all such housing was replaced with wooden dwellings, mostly either in cottage style or high, narrow two-story frame houses." Her remarks are perceptive, but the ques- tion remains of why other immigrant groups, both in United States and Canada, facing the same pressures and environment conditions, did not build log cabins, preferring instead to retain traditional house models, how- ever inappropriate. Shelter and imagination Rapoport's basic hypothesis is that "house form is not simply the result of physical forces or any single causal factor, but is the consequence of a whole range of socio-cultural factors . . . What finally decides the form of a dwelling, and moulds the spaces and théir relationships is the vision that people have of the ideal life." This history of Icelandic vernacular ar- chitecture in the old and new world bears out this thesis in a general way, but the relationship between house design and culture is more nebulous than it first appears, and the question of immigrant housing is particularly complex. Religion, for example, was an influential factor in the architec- ture of some immigrant groups. Cer- tain proscriptions in the .Mennonite religion, such as separation of the sexes, shapéd the interior arrange- ment of their homes and that plan did not change when they migrated to Canada. The Doukhobers' belief in communal social organization led to a particular layout of village set- tlements. But although most Icelan- ders were devout Lutherans, nothing in their beliefs influenced their dwell- ings. Their social organization appar- ently could be carried on as effective- ly in a one-room cabin as in a one- room loft house or the badstofa of a . passage house. The "vision of an ideal life" is similarly elusive when applied to domestic architecture. If the ideal life includes a disregard for material culture, the house itself will provide little material evidence. Icelandic people emphasized the mythical world — they wrote about it, they carved it, and, it a sense they lived Continued on page 6 Utför Dr. Kristjáns Eldjárns Framh. af bls. 1 Guðmundsdóttir einleik á fiðlu, Máríuvers eftir Pál ísólfsson, en eft- ir ræðu hans var sungið Island ögrum skorið. Þeir sem báru kistuna úr kirkju voru Gunnar Thoroddsen forsætis- ráðherra, Jón Helgason forseti sam- einaðs alþingis, Bjarni Vilhjálmsson þjóðskjalavörður, Guðmundur Magnússon háskólarektor, Hannes Pétursson skáld, Þór Magnússon þjóðminjavörður, Andrés Björnsson útvarpsstjóri og Logi Einarsson forseti hæstaréttar. Flutt var Chaconne um stef úr Þorlákstíðum eftir Pál ísólfsson. Fyrir kirkjudyrum var þjóðsöngurinn leikinn, en lögreglan og skátar stóðu heiðursvörð. Jarðsett var í Fossvogskirkjugarði. " GFr. An Icelandic wood carving from the nineteenth-century depicts life in the badstofa, or common room. One family member read aloud while others spun, wove, knitted, carved, and repaired equip- ment. Tools hung from the walls and ceiling.. THE VIKING MOTOR HOTEL AND THE NORSEMAN MOTEL 37 Rooms, Dining Room Cocktail Lounge, Banquet Room, Beverage Room, Vendor, Swimming Pool. Gimli, Manitoba (204) 642-5181

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