The first inhabitants of Iceland built their houses from the closest material at hand: the earth itself. In the beginning
of the twentieth century half of the population still lived in houses built in the same fashion as their medieval forefathers. The Icelandic turf houses are part of a world heritage, and among the country’s most significant contributions to the global culture.
Hjörleifur Stefánsson has studied the history and form of Icelandic turf houses over a long period of time. In the book, he gathers what is known about the turf houses, both old and new, and describes the main turf buildings still standing. He also publishes new information that has recently come to light during archaeological digs of medieval dwellings, and discusses research on such dwellings in neighbouring countries.
It is rare for the architectural history of a whole nation to be almost exclusively marked by turf dwellings. The aesthetics of turf buildings carry a significant message to the present day; teaching us how to build in harmony with the environment, and how to meld constructions and the land.