Heritage row erupts over Chipperfield’s Nobel Centre
Heritage campaigners have branded David Chipperfield Architects’ Nobel Centre proposal in Stockholm a ‘monument to themselves, at our expense’
A campaign has been launched on Facebook to protect two historic buildings threatened with demolition by the competition-winning headquarters.
The group – which has more than 5,000 likes on Facebook – said in a statement: ‘We have nothing against a new Nobel Center [however] must the Nobel Foundation really build a gigantic monumental building on one of the most fragile places in our beautiful city?’
It continued: ‘We are opposed to the star architects who will construct their angular spectacle of glass and steel in the middle of the protected historic environment as monuments to themselves, at our expense and the city.’
An online petition set up by the group against the new building has so far received close to 2,000 signatures.
The appeal comes just months after the RIBA Gold Medallist’s £18.9 million Geffrye Museum expansion was abandoned following a row over the demolition of a nearby former pub.
Chipperfield defeated Sweden’s Wingårdhs arkitekter and Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor to be ‘unanimously’ selected for the high-profile Nobel Centre job last week.
Source: Image by Jeppe Wikstrom
The new building on the Blasieholmsudden peninsula will include exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, a library, restaurant, shop and a large auditorium where the annual Nobel Prize award ceremony will take place.
If built the structure will replace an 1876 customs house by Axel Fredrik Nystrom – the architect of Sweden’s Old National Archives.
Two wooden warehouses from 1910 will also be cleared to make way for the Nobel Centre which is planned to open in 2018.
Annika Pontikis of the Nobel Foundation said: ‘This is the site that has been given to the project by the city of Stockholm. The city has been saving it for a very long time for a cultural project with international outreach and they felt the Nobel Center would be perfect. The two stage competition gave us an opportunity to thoroughly examine the possibilities of maintaining the existing values of the site as well as replacing them and adding new. We believe new public activities on the site will provide major opportunities to breathe life into the harbor environment in a better way than today.
‘The location of our suggested building makes it possible to create an attractive sunny city park with a public walkway along the quay. It will be possible for visitors to arrive by boat and also to continue mooring larger vessels. Most of the sight lines deemed especially important in the cultural history inventory are left free and the back of the adjacent Nationalmuseum enjoys a freer location. However, we maintain a close dialogue with the public authorities, which during the planning process will examine what will happen to the existing buildings on the site and review the options available to somehow preserve them. Finally, it is the City of Stockholm that decides on the local plan for the site.’