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David Chipperfield Architects' Nobel Center project is halted by A Swedish Court

Sweden - Jun 7, 2018 - 02:19   4144 views

A Swedish court has halted the construction of bronze-finned Nobel Center in Stocholm designed by David Chippefield Architects, according to a Swedish newspaper The Local

Reportedly, the Land and Environment Court of Appeal ruled that the new Nobel Center "would affect the readability of Stockholm's historical development as a port, shipping and trading city."

The court said the construction would "cause significant damage" to the preservation of Blasieholmen's cultural heritage and environment, stated in the same local newspaper.

Chipperfield's Nobel Center has been a controversial project after the Swedish National Heritage Board has stated their deep concerns about David Chipperfield's Nobel Center earlier this year. In a 4-question letter, the Heritage Board had stated that the proposed building would considerably damage to the national interest of Stockholm’s inner city, the surrounding cultural environment in Djurgården, an island housing historical buildings and monuments, museums, galleries, the amusement park Gröna Lund, and the open-air museum Skansen. 

The Nobel Foundation had been hoping to start construction work in 2017, before the court proceedings began. But following the court's decision, the verdict now makes the future of the Nobel Center unclear to start construction work. 

David Chipperfield first unveiled plans in 2014 to design a new home for awards ceremonies and house a museum which will be built for the first time in its 114-year history. The proposal was selected as the winning project by The Nobel Foundation. 

In 2015, Chipperfield released a modified version of Nobel Center, which revised plans by removing the underground car park and its ramp, space for an attractive square, created to the north of the building. In this modified version, the new Nobel Center featured its clear and dress-like facade, made up of vertical bronze fins. In 2016, the City Council approved the construction and design, but one floor had to be cut down from the plans. 

According to The Local, King Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweeden, criticised the building as it "would damage a historic area in the capital of Stockholm." In 2016, he told the daily Dagens Nyheter that the building would be "gigantic" and "too dominant" in the city context.

In an article published by World Architecture Community earlier this year, the Heritage Body had responded 4 major questions asked by the Court on the continuity of the city context, the built environment and cultural structures which will possibly be affected by the new proposal. 

The Heritage Board had stated that Stockholm would loose its national identity and representation to a large extent, as the customs building and the two warehouses would also be torn down.

The building is made of thin vertical bronze fins placed in varied densities – envelopes the building like a golden dress. The building will include a bookshop and a café-bar, exhibition, education and conference spaces, as well as an auditorium situated on the fourth floor. The new Nobel Center, covering a 19,980-square-metre area, was expecting to be completed in 2019.

"We are disappointed about this verdict ... We believe it will be a fantastic new place and meeting point in Stockholm, so we don’t see this as the end,” Ylva Lageson, CEO of Nobelhuset AB, which was tasked to construct, own and manage the center told Reuters.

According to Reuters, Jan Valeskog, Stockholm city councillor in charge of construction in the capital, said in a statement that the city of Stockholm would appeal against the ruling.

"The Nobel Center is an important project that has great cultural and economic importance for the entire Stockholm region," he said.

All images © David Chipperfield Architects

> via The Local