A competition is being held for a £17 million overhaul of Strängnäs Cathedral in rural Sweden and its surrounding precinct
Open to everyone, the anonymous two-stage competition seeks conceptual proposals to upgrade and expand the landmark 13th-century building, which dominates the small city of Strängnäs next to Lake Mälaren.
The project, backed by the Strängnäs Cathedral Assembly, aims to transform the hilltop cathedral complex into a ‘living meeting place’ with enhanced facilities for cultural, community and religious activities.
According to the brief: ‘The cathedral is a living church, the nucleus of both parish and diocese, and a potential hub for all of Strängnäs and the region at large. Several years ago, Strängnäs Cathedral Parish with Aspö began to formulate a vision for Strängnäs Cathedral and the cathedral hill.
‘By carefully adapting elements of the cathedral and its environs to meet the present and future needs of our parish, diocese and town, we want to create an environment in which the cathedral hill once again becomes a place for all the activities of life and where many different actors can meet. We hope that our work in and around Strängnäs Cathedral will be an inspiration for other church environments in Sweden.’
Strängnäs is a picturesque lakeside cathedral city of 18,000 residents, around 60km west of Stockholm. The hilltop cathedral was built between 1291 and 1340 and gradually expanded throughout the medieval era.
The European Brick Gothic-style building is recognised as one of the best-preserved medieval cathedrals within the Baltic Sea area. Nearby landmarks include Aspö Church and the St Petri Chapel in the south cemetery.
The competition focuses on the cathedral hill itself along with several surrounding streets, squares, a jetty area and waterside park. Current issues include a lack of storage space, social facilities and heating inside the cathedral. The wider complex also lacks sufficient office and meeting areas.
The project aims to transform the cathedral and surrounding precinct into a ‘unifying, functional and sustainable flagship building of high architectonic quality’. Stage one submissions will identify flexible solutions to enhance the buildings and bring new uses to the site.
Planned upgrades include a new fellowship hall, exhibition space and café, upgraded library, improved wayfinding and landscaping, and facilities for youth and musical activities.
Five shortlisted teams will receive £28,000 each and be invited to draw up more detailed proposals in response to a revised brief in the second stage of the contest. The overall winner will receive an additional £28,000 and the design commission.
Judges include cathedral dean Christofer Lundgren, diocese assistant director Emma Hansen Dahlqvist, architect and professor Kerstin Barup, and landscape architect Åsa Ehn Hillberg.
The competition documents are available in English and Swedish but all submissions must be completed in Swedish. The deadline for applications is 23:59 local time on 27 November.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Marie Rydén Davoust
Strängnäs Cathedral Assembly with Aspö
Bishop’s Gate 2