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In 2004 TBL won a conceptual design competition initiated by Alcoa and Bechtel for an architectural strategy for Alcoa Fjarðaál. Following our selection, TBL became an intergrated part of the design process, working both in our office in Iceland and in Bechtel´s Montreal office, where the engineering of the Project was done.

TBL´s design focus was on simplifying and underlining the geometric qualities of the buildings for an overall wholistic image. On a pragmatic level that focus echoed well with a clear agenda of limiting roof penetrations and achieve leakproof and maintenance free roofs where TBL instigated the selection of a standing seam roof system.

Material selection was in the spirit of the projects environmental agenda, were unpainted 5000 alloy aluminum cladding was selected as the baseline cladding on the buildings. Alcoa material was formed for the roofs by Armaseam on site and by Alcoa cladding in Georgia for the walls.

Major design achievements were the Bechtel designed modular Potline buildings, which proofed their designers worth by being the quickest potline construction in history. TBL intention was to allow as much daylight as possible into the buildings, and in that spirit devised a modular system of cladding for the long potline walls that give the image of a arbitray array of windows between a rhythm of larger “fin” windows, resulting in an almost latticelike effect at twilight and becoming the iconic image of the smelter and a landmark for those driving past.


Related Links

WBC Article about Fjardarál
Hot metal. Cold country

Iceland Honors Bechtel for Environmental Excellence

Bechtel-Built Aluminum Smelter Opens in Iceland

Five Solo´s article about Fjardarál

Alcoa´s profile on the smeltery

Image gallery at USSL

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