Högna Sigurðardóttir

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Högna Sigurðardóttir
Born 6 July 1929
Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Died 10 February 2017 (age 87)
Reykjavík, Iceland
Other names Hogna Sigurdardottir-Anspach
Occupation Architect
Relatives Sólveig Anspach (daughter)

Högna Sigurðardóttir (6 July 1929, Vestmannaeyjar - 10 February 2017, Reykjavík[1][2]) was a leading Icelandic architect. She was the first woman design a house in Iceland.[3] She spent most of her professional career in France.[4][5]


In 1949 Högna Sigurðardóttir became the first Icelander to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Shortly after graduating in 1960, she designed a residential building in the Westman Islands, so becoming the first woman to design a building in Iceland.[3] She was not, however, the first Icelandic woman to study architecture (that honor goes to Halldóra Briem).[3][6] She came to early prominence in Iceland, both for her daring architectural style and for breaking the glass ceiling in a field dominated by men at the time.[3]

She went on to build other residential buildings in Reykjavík and Kópavogur, installing furniture of her own design and adding gardens on the roofs as a means of creating an affinity with the natural surroundings. Her fine appreciation of landscape and nature can be seen even more vividly in the residential building at Bakkaflöt 1 in Garðabær. Inspired by the look of a traditional Icelandic turf house, Högna Sigurðardóttir made creative use of modern methods and materials in completing the work. As a result, in 2000 the building was picked out in an international review as one of the 100 most noteworthy buildings of the 20th century in Northern and Central Europe.[7][8]

Högna's designs were and are still to this day seen as very modern and bold.[3][9]

Appreciation and awards[edit]

In connection with the Honorary Medal for Visual Arts which Högna Sigurðardóttir was awarded in 2007 by the Akureyri Art Museum, it was stated that she had made a "unique lifetime contribution to Iceland architecture" and that her architecture was "more closely linked to Icelandic landscape, nature and heritage than the work of most contemporary architects."[7][10]

In 2008, Högna Sigurðardóttir was elected an honorary member of the Association of Iceland.[11]

In 1967, together with the French architect Adrien Fainsilber, Högna Sigurðardóttir won the first prize for designing a large-scale university development at Villetaneuse in the northern suburbs of Paris.[12] Icelandic newspapers covered her award at great length; bringing prominence to her in Iceland.[3]



  1. ^ "Högna Sigurðardóttir látin". RÚV. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  2. ^ "Greinasafn - Innskráning". secure.mbl.is. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Steinsteypuöldin, retrieved 2017-01-18 
  4. ^ "Vísir - Högna Sigurðardóttir Arkítekt". visir.is (in Icelandic). Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  5. ^ ATOM01.IS, DISILL CMS /. "/ Read article". www.icelanddesign.is. Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  6. ^ "Halldóra Briem EK arkitekt látin". www.mbl.is. Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  7. ^ a b "The 2007 Sjónlist Honorary Medal: Högna Sigurðardóttir", Akureyri Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Bakkaflöt 1 í Garðabæ friðuð", Husafridun.is. (in Icelandic) Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Heimþráin og ljóðrænar byggingar Högnu". RÚV. 2017-02-17. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  10. ^ "Art and Design Shine in Akureyri", LIST Icelandic Art News, September 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Einbýlishús Högnu Sigurðardóttur", quoted from the "Hönnunarmiðstöðvar Íslands" website.
  12. ^ "Réhabilitation de la Cité Salvador Allende à Villetaneuse", L'Observatoire CAUE de l'AUP. (in French) Retrieved 16 February 2012.