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Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

Geometry isn’t always an inspirational subject. I remember struggling with trigonometry, eventually reaching a point where I could reliably get the correct answer, with absolutely no understanding of the mechanics underpinning the calculations. Geometry in photography though, is a much more attractive proposition.

The geometrically complex concert hall in Reykjavík, Harpa, provides a good setting for studies of geometry. The building itself, constructed of steel-framed polygonic windows was (and is) controversial. A product of the Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson, as well as Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið, construction began before the 2008 crash which triggered world-wide economic difficulties.

The expensive building was the subject of considerable debate in Iceland, before the Parliament eventually agreed to fully fund the construction of the building. I’ve been told there was some discussion that the foundations of the building should be left unfinished, to remind Icelanders of their economic folly, and as a tribute to hubris. We can, should, and must be grateful that things turned out differently, and that we have instead a beautiful, striking building which could be thought of as a Sydney Opera House (another exercise in geometry, budget overruns, and for which we can now all be grateful) of the North.

The interaction between the mirrored ceiling, the lights — which were designed to evoke the Aurora Borealis, and the optical-illusory nature of the various internal levels are astonishing. It is hard to imagine that the designers knew exactly what effect their design would have, but the building stands, gorgeously, as testament to geometry and architecture.


Photos by PJD, on a cold evening in early September, 2012.

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. I was there just before it opened:

    And very interested to see that the facade was designed by Olafur Eliasson, whom I featured in a recent post on bike art:

    Thanks very much for reminding me!

    November 3, 2012
    • Olafur Eliasson is really interesting; we appreciate his focus on art and positive change, as exemplified by the little sun project, worth checking out:

      Very happy to have provided the spark to a happy memory!

      November 9, 2012
  2. I’d love to see this building lit up at night while it’s snowing! I can also relate to your early math exploits – thanks for visiting!

    November 4, 2012
    • I would absolutely like to see it like that, but I am not sure I would want to be outside in it! Even on this night it was cold, and taking the pictures, my hands started to get very very cold!

      November 9, 2012

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