Laugardalshöll (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈlœyːɣarˌtalsˌhœtl̥]; also known as Laugardalshöllin [-ˌhœtlɪn] and Laugardalsholl Sport Center) is a multi-purpose sports and exhibition venue located in the Laugardalur district of Iceland's capital Reykjavík. The complex consists of two main venues, a sports hall and indoor arena for track and field athletics events.

Laugardalshöllin, Laugardalsholl Sport Center
LocationReykjavík, Iceland
Coordinates64°08′25″N 21°52′41″W / 64.140305°N 21.877985°W / 64.140305; -21.877985
OwnerCity of Reykjavík
OperatorSports and Exhibition Center (ÍSH)
CapacitySports: 2,300 for basketball and handball (main hall)
Concerts: 3,000 seated or 5,500 with standing (main hall)
5,000 seated or 10,000 standing (athletics center)
Broke ground29 August 1959
Built1961, 1963–1965
Opened4 December 1965
Renovated2004–2005, 2022–2023
Expanded1995, 2005
ArchitectGísli Halldórsson
Skarphéðinn Jóhannesson[1]
Icelandic men's national basketball team
Icelandic women's national basketball team
Icelandic men's national handball team
Icelandic women's national handball team

Opened on 4 December 1965, it hosts a variety of sporting events, such as handball, basketball, volleyball and athletics, as well as various other events as a general purpose venue. The capacity of the main hall, Laugardalshöllin, is currently 2,300 for basketball and handball and around 3,000 seated (or 5,500 with standing) for concerts. It also serves as the home arena to the Icelandic national teams (both male and female) in basketball and handball.

It was the largest concert venue in Iceland for many decades (before the opening of Egilshöll), with a maximum standing capacity of 10,000 (or 5,000 seated) in Frjálsíþróttahöllin, the adjoined athletics center.

History edit

Construction and opening edit

Laugardalshöllin was designed by architect Gísli Halldórsson and Skarphéðinn Jóhannsson in early 1959 and built by the City Reykjavík and the Reykjavík Sports Association [is] (ÍBR). Construction of the building originally started on 29 August 1959 but was largely halted shortly afterwards due to lack of funds. Following a new tender process in Spring 1961, work resumed in August that year but was again stopped this time due to strikes by various unions.[2] The arena's roof vault was eventually cast over four days in September 1963 and the venue was finally completed on opening day in 1965. The first event held in the arena, a handball match, took place on Saturday 4 December 1965 between the Reykjavík team and the Czech team HCB Karviná, who came to Iceland at the invitation of sports club Knattspyrnufélagið Fram.[3]

Later expansions edit

The first extension was built on the east side of the building to increase the number of spectator seats to around 5,500 for the 1995 World Men's Handball Championship. After the tournament, the extension was converted into a small gym for basketball but now houses conference and storage rooms.[2]

In September 2004, it was announced that a 7,000 m2 extension would be built next to Laugardalshöllin designed specifically for athletics but can also host other events.[4] Opened in November 2005, the venue includes a 200-meter running track. At the same time, maintenance and renovations also took place in the main arena's building which reopened in early September 2005 after being closed during the summer months.[5] Further renovation work and major repairs was carried out across several months in 2022 and 2023. New parquet flooring was installed, following significant damage caused by a hot water leak in November 2020, polished and later revarnished alongside new seating in the spectator stands, lighting and a sound system that meets modern requirements for sports competitions.[6][7]

Proposal for new venue edit

In 2017, the ÍBR Congress agreed to launch a feasibility study on the construction of a new multi-purpose sports hall,[8] but this was rejected for cost reasons. It has been pointed out that the Laugardalshöllin does not meet modern sports standards and is in fact "obsolete and illegal" for international handball and basketball competitions but are played in the hall due to an exemption from international federations.[9] Issues with the existing venue include the "security area", the floor area which is too small and insufficient access for journalists, media and spectators.[10]

In January 2020 Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Education, Science and Culture, appointed a working group to make proposals for a new "national stadium for indoor sports". Initial proposals were expected to be submitted before May of that year.[11] In April 2022, a committee concluded that a new venue should have either a seated capacity of 5,000 or 8,600 (expandable up to 12,000 for concerts), which would satisfy the requirements needed for handball and basketball. The smaller venue would cost 7.9 billion ISK, while the larger one would cost 8.7 billion ISK. The new arena would be concurrent with Norway's Trondheim Spektrum. The city has reserved 2 billion ISK for the project.[12] In May, the city and the government agreed to making a new arena for the national teams that would be shared with sports clubs Þróttur and Ármann as-well as the schools in the neighbourhood. The city would cover cost equal to the needs of the schools and sports clubs and the government covers cost of any additional facilities needed by the national teams. A construction committee will handle the project, ask for designs and the arena was expected to be fully constructed by 2025.[13]

In January 2023, the estimated cost estimate was increased to 14.2 billion ISK and a decision was made to build a new venue with a capacity of 8,600. The building is planned just south of existing Laugardalshöll buildings with a connecting building in-between them.[14] In March Reykjavík announced a new site plan, featuring the positioning of the venue.[15][16] In September 2023, the chairman of the preparations committee for the new venue updated the estimate of finishing construction to either the end of 2026 or the beginning of 2027, stating that the venue will not be built by the end of 2025.[17] On 8 March 2024, the government and Reykjavik announced a competition for the construction and design of the new venue, with the winner being chosen in June and advertised it in the European Economic Area. Each proposal needs to consist of an architect/designer, engineer and a contractor, an unusual practice in Iceland. The winning proposal is expected to be announced in January 2025.[18] It is planned that the new 8,600-seat "national hall" will be put into use between 2027 and 2028, in the hope that Iceland could host matches of the World Men's Handball Championship in 2029 or 2031 as part of a joint bid with Denmark and Norway. The estimated cost of the project is now estimated to be around 15 billion ISK.[19]

Events edit

Friendly international handball match between Iceland and France in April 2010

Perhaps the most prominent event to be held at Laugardalshöll was the World Chess Championship 1972, often dubbed the "Match of the Century", in which challenger Bobby Fischer of the United States defeated the defending champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. The movie Bobby Fischer Against the World (2011) features scenes from Laugardalshöll.[20]

The arena hosted the 1995 World Men's Handball Championship[21][22] and many matches of the Iceland men's national handball team, one of the most successful sports of the country.

On 14 November 2009, the "National Assembly", the first step of a constitutional reform process, was held here. It gathered 1500 citizens, of which 1200 were randomly picked from the national register.[23] It produced a document listing the main principles of the island nation.

From 2007 to 2011, it also hosted CCP Games' EVE Online annual 'Fanfest'. The event returned in 2022.

Every year from 2016 to 2020 and again in 2024, the arena has held the finals of Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic preliminary round for the Eurovision Song Contest.[24][25]

In 2021, it hosted Riot Games' League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational and Valorant Masters from 6 May to 30 May.[26][27] The arena also hosted the 2021 League of Legends World Championship from 5 October to 6 November.[28]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Reykjavík of Yore: Laugardalshöllin - The Reykjavik Grapevine". (in Icelandic). 27 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Fyrstu sjónvarpsmyndirnar úr Laugardalshöll". RÚV (in Icelandic). 7 December 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Hallarbylting í Laugardal". (in Icelandic). 3 December 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Laugardalshöllin lokuð í fimm mánuði". (in Icelandic). 22 September 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Laugardalshöllin opnuð með Joe Cocker". (in Icelandic). 29 August 2005. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Viðgerð á Laugardalshöll að ljúka". (in Icelandic). 1 September 2022. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  7. ^ "Gólf Laugardalshallar lakkað að nýju". (in Icelandic). 26 August 2023. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  8. ^ "Saga íþrótta í Reykjavík - Íþróttabandalag Reykjavíkur". (in Icelandic). Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Málefni Laugardalshallar á byrjunarstigi". RÚV (in Icelandic). September 2, 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  10. ^ Jóhannsson, Róbert (January 10, 2024). "Þjóðarhöll ehf. stofnað um þjóðarhöll". RÚV (in Icelandic). Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  11. ^ "Undirbúningur vegna þjóðarleikvangs fyrir innanhússíþróttir hafinn". (in Icelandic). 10 January 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  12. ^ "Áætluðu að ný höll kosti um 8-9 milljarða". (in Icelandic). 26 April 2022. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  13. ^ Kolbeinn Tumi Daðason. "Ný þjóðahöll sem leysi vandamálið rísi í Laugardal árið 2025". (in Icelandic). Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  14. ^ Viktor Örn Ásgeirsson (13 January 2023). "Kostnaður við þjóðarhöll rúmir 14 milljarðar". (in Icelandic).
  15. ^ Máni Snær Þorláksson (15 March 2023). "Gera ráð fyrir þjóðahöll í deilskipulagsbreytingu". (in Icelandic).
  16. ^ "Vilja stækka lóðarmörk fyrir nýja þjóðarhöll". (in Icelandic). 15 March 2023. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  17. ^ Aron Guðmundsson (13 September 2023). "Ný þjóðarhöll mun aldrei rísa árið 2025". (in Icelandic).
  18. ^ Sigurbjörnsson, Þorkell Gunnar (March 8, 2024). "Áætluð verklok þjóðarhallar 2027 eða 2028". RÚV (in Icelandic). Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  19. ^ "Betra að hafa kjaftfulla höll heldur en hálftóma". (in Icelandic). 8 March 2024. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  20. ^ Conolly, Jez and Caroline Whelan. World Film Locations: Reykjavik. Intellect Books. Page 100. ISBN 9781841506418.
  21. ^ "Men's World Championships".
  22. ^ "Þegar Ísland hélt stórmót: „Þetta var mjög dramatískt"". RÚV. 21 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Fréttaskýring: Þjóðfundur um framtíðarsýn Íslendinga". (in Icelandic). 11 November 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  24. ^ "Söngvakeppnin haldin í kvikmyndaverinu í Gufunesi". RÚV. 15 December 2021.
  25. ^ Adam, Darren (2023-10-13). "Söngvakeppnin back in Laugardalshöll". RÚV. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  26. ^ Porter, Matt (1 March 2021). "League of Legends MSI 2021 is reportedly set to go ahead in Reykjavik, Iceland". Metro. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  27. ^ "MSI 2021: Location Reveal | LoL Esports". Archived from the original on 2021-12-13 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ "LoL Esports". Retrieved 13 September 2021.

External links edit

  Media related to Laugardalshöllin at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by World Men's Handball Championship
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by League of Legends World Championship
Final Venue

Succeeded by