GPA to design new public transport system in Reykjavik  


Gottlieb Paludan Architects will head the architectural and landscape design of the Borgarlínan, a large public transport project intended to push green transformation of traffic in the Icelandic capital. We won the project in collaboration with a French-Danish-Icelandic team.

The Borgarlínan project is a so-called ‘Bus Rapid Transit’ system, where buses run in a dedicated lane, have their own stops and a separate identity.The BRT system combines the high capacity and speed of the tram with the flexibility and lower capital expenditure of the bus. It is a solution that provides superior operational flexibility, excellent opportunities for urban integration and favourable return on investment.

Gottlieb Paludan Architects won the project as part of an international team, headed by the French consultancy firm Artelia; the other members of the team are consulting engineers MOE (Denmark) and HNIT (Iceland) together with the Icelandic architectural firm YRKI. Gottlieb Paludan Architects and YRKI Architects will collaborate closely on the architectural design of the Borgarlínan.

The focus will be on designing a transport system with a clear, local identity that contributes positively to the green transition and to the creation of functional urban spaces and new traffic patterns in the metropolitan area. The BRT system is to be an efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to the car and may also help pave the way for more pedestrian and bicycle traffic in Reykjavik. The possibility of running on sustainable fuel is being explored, and the Borgarlínan is an important element in Iceland’s target of carbon-neutral public transport, which will contribute to the country's fulfilment of the Paris Agreement.

Tine Kjærulff Bay, Head of Design with Gottlieb Paludan Architects says, “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to draw on our experience with designing integrated public transport systems and take part in developing this ambitious project in Iceland's capital. We’re very much looking forward to collaborating with the Borgarlínan project organisation and our international collaboration partners.”

Gottlieb Paludan Architects is able to draw on many years of experience with similar projects in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, such as the Copenhagen Light Rail, Aarhus Light Rail (phase 2) and Bussveien BRT in Stavanger.

The project will start in 2021, and the first phase of 14 kilometres is expected to be completed around 2025. The Borgarlínan project is built by the Icelandic state and six local authorities in the metropolitan area.

Read more about the project here.