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Marshall Building to become arts and cultural centre

The Marshall Building at the Norðurgarður site in Reykjavík is about to take on an exciting new role. A new arts and cultural centre is set to take shape where once fish was reduced for meal production. A contract to this effect was signed last Friday and plans are for artistic activities to commence once renovation is complete this coming autumn.

According to an agreement between the building’s owners, HB Grandi, and the city of Reykjavík, the three upper floors have been leased for fifteen years. The facilities will then be sub-leased to the Living Art Museum (Nýlistasafnið), i8 Gallery, Kling & Bang and Stúdíó Reykjavík, and as part of this initiative Ólafur Elíasson will run a studio in the Marshall Building. A restaurant specialising in seafood will open on the ground floor.

The contract was finalised last Friday. HB Grandi CEO Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson signed on behalf of the building’s owners and Mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B Eggertsson signed on behalf of the city of Reykjavík. Also in attendance were representatives of HB Grandi, artists, architects Kurt & Pí who have overseen the renovation, along with media and other guests.

Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson said that this opportunity was entirely in tune with HB Grandi’s activities at the Norðurgarður site, which is centred around Iceland’s primary industry, that the company should be located in between the Thúfa installation by Ólöf Nordal and the proposed artistic activities in the Marshall Building.

‘The building was first used as a herring factory in 1950 and it was constructed partly with Marshall Aid. We stopped producing meal from bones and offcuts there on the 30th of April 2009, by which time the equipment there was obsolete. The building was cleared in 2013 and has been empty since then. In the autumn of 2014. Börkur, Ásmundur and Steinthór from architects Kurt & Pí came to us at HB Grandi with their ideas on how the building could be utilised, and those ideas are now becoming a reality,’ Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson said, commenting that the next step is to prepare the building for its new role, for which it should be ready in the autumn.

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