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  • Kathryn Van Dinh

Cool Buildings

North Texas is definitely feeling the heat right now as we enter the peak of summer. Just as you walk from the car to your front door, you can feel the heat radiating from the pavement. So to get your mind off the sweltering heat, the MEL/ARCH team thought we would show you some “cool” buildings! Grab a cold drink or popsicle, and check out these incredible cold climate buildings.



Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre - Henning Larsen & Batteríið Architects, 2011, Reykjavík, Iceland


This incredible building gives the sense of crystallization with its geometric glass facade. The Harpa is a steel framed building that acts as a striking landmark for the city and harbor. At 300,000 sqft, the Harpa was designed for a number of different functions. The primary use of course is housing the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic Opera, and Reykjavík Big Band. Harpa was long in the making as its creation was first discussed in 1990, construction started and then stopped, and its official opening in 2011. It is a highly respected piece of architecture, earning the Mies van Der Rohe - European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Award in 2013. Its main auditorium, Eldborg, received the USITT Architecture Award for Acoustics in 2018. It is a glittering and shining beacon of the city and of modern architecture.

Learn more about Harpa's amazing facade here!

For amazing exterior, interior, and facade pictures, click here!




Fordypningsrommet Fleinvær - TYIN Architects, 2017, Gildeeskål, Norway


This arctic retreat will definitely help you cool down. Fordypningsrommet is a collection small timber structures. This unique cabins are eco friendly, using Kebony wood for all their cladding and designed especially to be mindful about their locations. The vegetation, bird nesting areas, weather, and terrain were all interesting factors, resulting in the buildings being elevated to minimize the impact on the landscape. The idea for this project was to showcase the amazing views and be a place for creatives to rent and work. The name roughly translate to “space for deep thoughts.” A visit to this project would be an amazing opportunity for a cold, peaceful, and quiet break away from modern city life.

If you want to book your trip now, look at their website!

For more info and picture, check out these!




Fogo Island Inn - Saunders Architecture, 2013, Fogo, Canada


The goal of this project was to “find new ways with old things,” resulting in a modern building deeply connected to local traditions. The Fog Island Inn is an X shaped building located on a coast line. It is strategically placed for views and to sit upon the ground without affecting the landscape. This building is very thoughtfully done, in terms of both design and long term functioning/maintenance. The steel frame is heavily insulated, windows have triple pane glazing, rain water is collected and used within the building, and many of the roofs have solar panels. Local craftspeople and carpenters were brought in to work on the project, furthering the connection between the building and the community.

Check on the inn's website!

More info here!




The Whale - Dorte Mandrup, To Be Completed June 2023, Andenes, Norway


It is a little too early to visit but this amazing museum is just too cool not to talk about. The site is located on one of the best places to see migrating whales. Located 300 km North of the Arctic Circle, this building is to emerge out of the landscape like a whale breeching the surface of the water. The design allows the building to not distract from the landscape, while still providing striking views of the water. The curve of the roof is to be covered with stones that will develop a natural patina, further allowing the building to be incorporated into its surroundings. The parabolic structure allows for a massive column-less space and striking section. The building is an advocate for the protection of whales, but it is also an example of poetic architecture.

See what the architect has to say on the project here!

Learn more here!


The MEL/ARCH team says to stay cool out there!

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