Ársrit Verkfræðingafjelags Íslands - 01.01.1914, Blaðsíða 31

Ársrit Verkfræðingafjelags Íslands - 01.01.1914, Blaðsíða 31
31 mentioned to several men in this town, that I thought it advisable to restrict in some measure the building of wooden houses here in Reykjavík, especially in the middle of the town, and along the main streets in the other parts. Only very few thought this pos- sible, some people found the idea most absurd. But now in a very short time, things liave changed so much, that, in my opinion the proposal of a similar limitation would not meet with any opposition, worth mentioning. It is hardly exaggerated to say that the building of wooden houses has been overdone, and a good manv people have a clear understanding of this fact. Now we have had some experience as to the durability of houses built from that kind of wood which has been obtainable during the Iast years. As time goes on, the costs of preservation of these houses become a heavy burden, although it very seldom is possible to keep them in a state that would pay the costs. The expenses of building a house of concrete and those of building a wooden house are now-a- days pretty nearly equal. But, in my opinion, there is more Icelandic work represented in the price of the concrete buildings, than in the price of the wooden houses, or in other words, the latter cost more money out of the country. For economical reasons the wooden houses seem to me not to have the future before them, as the durability of the concrete houses must be quite dilTerent to that of equally well built wooden houses. The greatest dangér that could befall the stone- and concrele buildings, would be an earlhquake. Of course many people are deterred from stonehouses by this reason. But when the matter in question is something so capticious as earthquakes, it is as well, not to make any assertions. In this case like in others we must follow the experience of times gone by. As far as we know, all tlie time since the days of the seltlement, there has never collapsed a single cottage in these parls of the country, and for this reason Reykjavík was made the capilal — a litlle more than a century ago. It may be pointed out, that here in Reykjavík a stonehouse from the days of the »Skaptár«eruptions (the ministerial building) has been preserved unshaken, although it is nol at all more carefully built, than houses are now-a-days. And in the neighbourhood there are several houses from the middle part of the 18tu century, viz. the house and the church in Viðey, the house and the cliurch in Bessastaðir, and the house of Nes. No — earth- quakes should not deter people from building from stone or concrete. In case of eartquake, concrete walls would probably prove safer tlian slonewalls, and well slrengthened wilh iron bars they might keep stand just as well as wooden walls. Then the great iirerisk of the wooden houses has to be mentioned, a fact which does not make them fit to be recommended in a densely populated place. The corrugated sheet is certainly a good pro- tection from the spreading of fire — but not at all safe or sufficient, and it is uncomfortable in a densely populated place to Iive in houses which in a few minutes might turn into an ocean of fire. An alleralion which seems to me absolutely neces- sary is an improve'd arrangement of the town. On the whole it should be more densely populated. It may seem going the wrong waj' to make population denser, when there in other countries is a strong movement rising, tending towards its scattering. I mean the Garden Cities. But speaking ot the crouded multitude of great cilies and of the sparse populalion of our little towns — is a different thing. As far as I can see, the wide expanse of this town renders it very difficult to keep it decently clean, to take care of the make and repair of streets and pavements and to procure lighting, sewerage and other tliings, pro- moting the general cleanliness. In my opinion, some parts of the town must be built more densely, and then it will be necessary to build from a material more fireresisting and more durable than wood is known to be. I do not think it is necessary to make a closer enquiry as to the reasons for a more durable style of building, than the one which has been in use up to this. It can hardly be said that any remains can be seen of all which has been built in this countrj', from the time of the settlement up to this day. We ean not refrain from following the example of olher countries, by choosing the stone as the chief material for building. The building regulations of this town should not only be a slave of the inhabitanls but also a good guide, it should provide againsl a bad and unsuitful architecture, and contribute to something better, it should limit the building of wooden houses and in- crease the building from stone and concrete. In the building regulations now in force, there are hardly any provisions regarding the arrangement of the town, neither do they authorize the building committee or the towncouncel to make any reforms in these matters, excepl when the question is of the make and breath of streets. I think it is evident tliat the building regulalions should contain some provis- ions dealing wilh the general arrangement of the buil- ding, at least it should not be permilled lo build on a new area, unlill the proposed streets and blocks of buildings had been chartered, and if possible, no liouse should he built, if the street leading to il had nol been finished, likewise the aqueducts and sewes. The building regulations should also contribute to


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