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Chipperfield’s Nobel Centre plans come under fire

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Stockholm’s City Museum has written to the local planning department calling on them to throw out plans for the David Chipperfield Architects-designed Nobel Centre

The museum said the centre, which is planned for the Swedish capital’s historic Blasieholmshamnen area, would have a ‘particularly large impact on heritage values and the local environment’ and should be built elsewhere.  

A number of historic buildings including an 1876 customs house by Axel Fredrik Nystrom – the architect of Sweden’s Old National Archives, and two wooden warehouses from 1910 would be demolished to make way for the planned Nobel Centre.

‘The three buildings have special cultural values ​​and are of great significance for the understanding of Stockholm as a port city’, said the museum’s director Berit Svedberg in a letter to city’s cultural committee.

The museum is also concerned that at eight-storeys the proposed centre would be ‘significantly taller’ than the surrounding traditional stone buildings of the area.

It said that due to the building’s height and choice of ‘shiny’ façade material, the Nobel Centre would ‘completely dominate the local environment’.

The views were backed by Sweden’s Liberal Party which also criticised the scheme.

‘Blasieholmen may be the right place - but the building as proposed is not right for Blasieholmen,’ said Rasmus Jonlund vice-chairman of the culture committee and the cultural environment committee. 

He added: ‘It is too large. It will particularly affect the important cultural heritage of the place’.

It isn’t the first time the plans by the RIBA Gold Medal-winner have come under fire. Just weeks after the winning design was revealed last year, a Facebook campaign was launched to protect the threatened buildings on the historic peninsula from demolition.

The new building, which is planned to open in 2019, will include exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, a library, restaurant, shop and a large auditorium where the annual Nobel Prize award ceremony will take place.

Statement from David Chipperfield Architects

The Nobel Center project is currently in the urban planning consultation phase. We are aware of both the criticism as well as the support by the general public. We, along with the client and the city, are paying close attention to the feedback, which will be considered in the design development of the project. However, we are confident that the project will go ahead as planned by the Nobel Foundation opening in December 2019.’

Statement from Nobelhuset chief executive Susanne Lindh

The Nobel Center project is currently in the consultation phase of the proposed detailed development plan. The purpose of the consultation is to collect information and views from different perspectives - both negative and positive voices on the project. A discussion we look forward to. At the end of the consultation period all remarks will be documented and commented before considered in the design development of the project.

The Nobel Center will be one of Stockholm’s most attractive destinations. A central location in Stockholm with good transport connections is thus essential to its activities. Blasieholmen can be reached on foot and by metro, boat or bus. We believe the Nobel Center – with its broad public activities – will enhance the value of this location and make it more accessible for Stockholm residents and for visitors.

Previous story (AJ 09.04.14)

Chipperfield wins Nobel Centre job

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