Vatnasafn / Library of Water

Filed Under: Arctic, Art

Vatnasafn / Library of Water

Vatnasafn / Library of Water is a project conceived by Roni Horn for a former library in the coastal town of Stykkishólmur in Iceland.

The building overlooks the ocean and the town, and is home to three related collections – of water, words and weather reports – which reflect Roni Horn’s intimate involvement with the singular geography, geology, climate and culture of Iceland.

The building is in fact an old library. The books it once housed have long since been moved to a new, larger building, leaving this building vacant and without purpose.

With the support of commissioning organization Artangel, Horn enlarged the windows, installed a rubber floor stamped with words describing the weather (in Icelandic and English), and filled the space with 24 columns of water.


For over two decades, Iceland had been for her [Roni] “an open-air studio of unlimited scale and newness”, a place where she could lose herself and find herself and which she would share, through her work, with others at another time and in another place.
– James Lingwood, Co-Director, Artangel

The water that is ‘archived’ in this Library of Water is in fact each taken from a different glacial source, 24 in total, all of them melting and receding as our human habits reconfigure the Earth.

Find out more about this project at