The building was constructed in 1933 by sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson as an art exhibition space. It was designed by Sigurður Guðmundsson. Since it was built after 1930, it’s not protected by cultural heritage laws.
The fact that the building is for sale has upset many artists who fear that prospective buyers may decide to use it for other purposes than exhibiting art, for which it was intended. Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir, who heads the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (SÍM) told mbl.is, "We want the state or the city of Reykjavik to step in. There is a need for exhibition spaces in the city centre. We don't want this building to be turned into yet another hotel, restaurant or puffin shop. This was the wish of Ásmundur Sveinsson and we need to respect that." Members of the association have signed a petition to the city, voicing their concern and demanding that the building remain a museum.
The real estate company in charge of the sale reports today that a few serious offers have been received, according to RÚV. More that 1,300 people have signed a petition urging the Icelandic Confederation of Labor and those who operate its art museum to reconsider selling the building. The real estate value of the property is about ISK 80 million (USD 655,00, EUR 570,000).