Published February 3, 2018
In the city of cranes, work is never quite over.
Construction workers certainly know that, and yet they aren’t afraid of coming to Iceland from the disparate corners of the world to offer their sweat and tears to the expansion of Reykjavík’s urban map.
Polish workers seem to be particularly eager to move to Iceland, for six month stints, to fill positions that no Icelander wants. We followed Jarek Kuchta, a Polish crane operator who has been working on the construction of Hotel Hilton in downtown Reykjavík for the past four months.
Like the rest of his crew, Jarek lives in Mosfellsbær, in a hotel built from industrial containers. Every morning, at 07:00 on the dot, Jarek is ready begin his day amongst the clouds—but not before a cup of coffee and a sneaky cigarette. Not bad for a day’s work.
It’s 07:00 when Jarek arrives to Harpa’s empty parking lot. Nobody is around yet.
Safety first: nothing gets done without helmet and gloves.
A quick cup of coffee is essential to stay awake.
It’s a long way up to Jarek’s office: there’s no time to waste.
Jarek climbs to his office with determination…
… and he’s finally on top of the city. Not a bad spot for a lunch break!
Jarek’s office is one of a kind and certainly not for the faint of heart.
Jarek can’t see everyone from such heights…
…, so he relies heavily on radio communication. With so many cranes and people around, the work needs to be careful and precise.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a gigantic yellow crane!
Good teamwork is the crew’s bread and butter.
A quick cigarette break…
…with the best view in Reykjavík.
You can see Hallgrímskirkja in the distance, a tiny dot in the horizon. How far high are we?
Only late at night do the cranes stop.
Before clocking off, the workers set up the cranes in the direction of the wind so that they don’t fall down during the night.