The Lobsterhouse

A house with history – saved by the hippies

The Lobsterhouse was built in 1838 and is located at Bernhöftstorfa, downtown Reykjavík. Stephen Gunnlaugsson, the head of state, built the house. Through the years it has hosted famous Icelandic poets like Hannes Hafsteinn and Stefán Thorarensen.

By 1970, the houses in Berntöftstorfa were capacity, the intention being to demolish all the houses and build government offices in their place. Before this came to be, a battle for the buildings preservations was held. It lasted for about a decade, but all the while the houses decayed and parts of them caught fire. In this house alone there were three different fires during the period of the preservation battle.

After much struggle the Torfusamtök, consisting of hippies, activists and architects, were finally victorious and got to rent the houses from the state with restoration and preservation as their main goal. Their successful work is apparent to The Lobsterouse visitors.