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Chipperfield approached over new Nobel Centre in Stockholm after original plans axed

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David Chipperfield Architects (DCA) is among several architects approached over fresh plans for a new Nobel Centre headquarters in Slussen, Stockholm

The revelation comes two years after a Swedish court vetoed DCA’s competition-winning plans for a landmark £100 million Nobel Centre on the Swedish capital’s prominent Blasieholmen waterfront.

Earlier this month, the Nobel Foundation announced it had chosen a new site for the complex 1km from its previously proposed location within the Slussen regeneration zone (pictured) masterplanned by Foster + Partners.

The proposed site of the new Nobel Centre in Slussen, Stockholm

The proposed site of the new Nobel Centre in Slussen, Stockholm

Source: Image by DBox and Foster and Partners

The proposed site of the new Nobel Centre in Slussen, Stockholm

The foundation said there had been ‘no decision’ over which architect to work with but it would be ‘necessary to design an entirely new building’ for the new site and talks were being held with teams who participated in the original contest held seven years ago.

The statement said: ‘The Nobel Foundation and the City of Stockholm have agreed that we will work together with a highly respected architect. We got in touch with many talented architects through the international architectural competition that we invited to the previous project. We are keen to make use of the experience we have from that process.

‘Now that the location is set the Nobel Foundation will begin the process of choosing an architect.’

Teams which participated in the previous 2013 competition included OMA, 3XN, BIG, David Chipperfield Architects, Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor, Lacaton & Vassal Architectes of France, SANAA and Snøhetta.

In a statement, David Chipperfield Architects expressed its support for the new site and the foundation’s apparent decision to forego a repeat competition. The practice said: ‘We are delighted to hear that a new site for the Nobel Centre has been agreed upon in the area of Slussen.

‘The Nobel Foundation has communicated that they will not open a new competition. Clearly there will be further discussion about how the new project will proceed both in scope and in project organisation.

‘Hopefully this will now allow this exciting and important project to proceed and the new Nobel Centre as a house of ideas and dialogue will soon become a reality in Stockholm.’

David Chipperfield Architects beat two Swedish finalists – Wingårdhs arkitekter and Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor – to win the high-profile job in April 2014.

Two years later Stockholm City Council voted through the scheme by 54 votes to 43 after the architect reduced the height of his initial concept by 3m in response to fierce opposition.

DCA’s scheme would have replaced an 1876 customs house by Axel Fredrik Nystrom and two wooden warehouses from 1910. The £100 million project – featuring exhibition spaces, a library, restaurant, meeting rooms and a grand auditorium for the annual Nobel Prize ceremony – was originally due to open in 2019.

Sweden’s Land and Environment Court ruled against construction work starting on the contentious waterfront structure in May 2018, saying it would ‘cause significant damage’ to the historic Blasieholmen district.

The final court veto came two years after the King of Sweden voiced his criticism of the new Nobel Centre in an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, branding the structure ‘too big’.

Foster and Partners' Slussen masterplan, Stockholm

Foster and Partners’ Slussen masterplan, Stockholm

Foster and Partners’ Slussen masterplan, Stockholm

The new Nobel Centre is planned for a prominent waterfront site on the eastern edge of Foster + Partners’ Slussen redevelopment. The £1 billion masterplan is one of the largest transformational projects taking place in Sweden and will create a new urban quarter to the city.

The practice beat bids from Jean Nouvel and Mia Hägg, Carl Nyrén, Gert Wingårdhs and BIG’s Bjarke Ingels to land the contest back in 2009.

Built in 1642, Slussen is the lock that separates the sea from Lake Malaren. In 1935 the lock was covered by Lundborg’s and William-Olsson’s ‘four-leaf clover’ concrete road structure and this has now eroded and there is an urgent need to replace the water and transport infrastructure.

Foster + Partners’ masterplan will create a new civic quarter with new public and cultural buildings, restaurants and cafés.

It also includes a series of new public spaces, a ‘water plaza’ arranged around the historic lock, and an accessible quayside with pedestrian and cycle routes.

The project is part of Stockholm’s Vision 2030 initiative to regenerate several areas of the city. 

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