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The Marshall Building, a new art gallery and restaurant

A magnificent new arts centre was opened in the Marshall Building in Reykjavík’s Grandi district last weekend. This striking building dates back to 1949 when it was part of the herring works that was in use for almost half a century. The building has been unused since HB Grandi’s fishmeal and fish oil production in Reykjavík came to an end. Today the Marshall Building houses the Nýlistasafn art collection, Kling & Bang, Ólafur Elíasson’s Reykjavík studio and the Marshall restaurant + Bar.

The idea behind the Marshall Building’s new role is down to the architects at the Kurtogpi architectural practice, which handled all of the design work that went into the building’s transformation. HB Grandi´s project management was in the hand of technical manager Gísli Sigmarsson, properties superintendent Sigurður Gunnarsson and Össur Imsland at ASK Architects. According to Gísli Sigmarsson, the four storey Marshall Building has a floor space of 1839 square metres.

‘The project had a formal start date on the 19th of February 2016 when the contracts were signed and work began. This comprises renovation and outfitting of the Marshall building at Grandagarður 20 for its new purpose. The building houses the Marshall Restaurant + Bar, which opened on the 22nd of March, exhibition spaces and workshops for artists and their facilities. The restaurant is on the ground floor, exhibition spaces are on the second and third floors, and the workshops are on the fourth floor. The building has a lift from the ground to the fourth floor. The main entrance is on the north-west side, from the railway,’ Gísli Sigmarsson said, adding that ÍAV has handled the practical side of things. The construction manager is one of ÍAV’s staff.

‘We can say that despite the formal opening at the weekend, work is still in progress, although we’re now into the final stretch. ÍAV has a few minor tasks to complete. Sigurður and I have taken part in 41 planning meetings and we probably have two or three more to go. These meetings are where we take the decisions on all kinds of things, both major aspects and minor details. We have also monitored the contractors during the construction period. There are always things that we need to deal with, such as piping and the area around the building itself. When there are a many aspects to a project then it’s important to make sure that everything works out. There are also foundations for harbour facilities, a new freezer compressor room in the ice tower, an electrical sub-station and a warehouse all in the same area, as well as water, fibre optic and power mains running around the Marshall Building.

Current cultural events at the Marshall Building include –

The Rolling Line exhibition, a decade of the works of Ólafur Lárusson (1951-2014), which is held in the Nýlistasafn gallery.

Ólafur Elíasson’s studio is partly open to the public. From the 18th of March there is an exhibition of his work from early in his career and spanning the period up to the present day. This includes a variety of works, such as engravings, sculpture and paintings.

Kling & Bang is holding the Slæmur félagsskapur (Bad Company) exhibition on the third floor. This is an exhibition by eight emerging visual artists.


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