Entering an Icelandic turf house opens a passageway into a super-organism. The turf house, built of wetland turf, stones, and timber, is a multispecies assemblage of entangled roots, soil, fungi, mycelium, microbes, plants, lichens, stones, wood, insects, mice, dogs, cows, sheep, and humans to name a few. While soil, microorganisms and rhizomatic root growth are the key builders of turf, the turf house architectonic space is also formed by interspecies collaboration. The baðstofa (the human communal space), for example, was occasionally built on top of the space that housed cows and sheep. This interspecies collaboration served to warm the baðstofa. The earthen passageway of the turf house connects all of the spaces of the turf house. The air is saturated with the smells of soil. The soil lends the space its hues of brown, and light and dark grey from volcano ash. The turf house is a form of architecture that is at once human and non-human, co-produced and cohabited.
Bjerde, Grétarsdottir, Hafsteinsson, Silis Hoeg, Kielsen Holm, Lindman, Myrup, Suominen, Tenetz, Vold
Excursion Greenland: Melting ice reveals old NATO base camps and toxic waste flow into melted water. IMAGE: Blue West NATO base, Marraq, Greenland. Photo credit: Matti Tanskanen