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Court vetoes Chipperfield’s Stockholm Nobel Centre

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The City of Stockholm has announced it will appeal a court decision to prevent construction of David Chipperfield Architects’ Nobel Centre

Sweden’s Land and Environment Court ruled against construction work starting on the contentious waterfront structure yesterday (22 May) saying it would ‘cause significant damage’ to the historic Blasieholmen district, according to news website The Local.Se

Following the verdict, the City of Stockholm announced it would appeal the ruling, which deemed the £100 million scheme ‘would affect the readability of Stockholm’s historical development as a port, shipping and trading city’.

In a statement, the Nobel Centre said: ‘We are obviously disappointed with the ruling of the Land and Environment Court. We will now study this ruling in order to better understand the court’s decision.

‘The Nobel Centre is an extremely important project for Stockholm, as our elected officials have also shown by approving its implementation. It is not unusual for urban development projects in central Stockholm, no matter how important they are, to encounter a reversal along the way but finally be implemented. We are convinced that this will be the case with the Nobel Centre.’

The statement continued: ‘Until today, all official decisions have gone our way, and we trust the judgements that experts at the City of Stockholm and the Stockholm County Administrative Board have previously made.’

David Chipperfield Architects beat two Swedish practices – 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.

The latest setback comes two years after the King of Sweden voiced his criticism of the new Nobel Centre in an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The scheme would replace an 1876 customs house by Axel Fredrik Nystrom and two wooden warehouses from 1910. The £100 million project was originally due to open in 2019.

Comment from David Chipperfield Architects Berlin:

’Obviously this is not the verdict we were hoping for and are naturally disappointed. However, we fully respect the open and transparent process negotiating the legal framework for the Nobel Center. Together with our client, we will seek to understand this in greater detail.

‘Obviously this is not the verdict we were hoping for’

’It is our understanding that the City of Stockholm will appeal the verdict and we hope that during this process the very public nature of the Nobel Center will become clearer, highlighting the necessity of creating places dedicated to dialogue and debate for the stability of our civic societies, especially in these times, and how it can enrich the cultural and social life of Stockholm.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • You don't have to be a disciple of Prince Charles -- especially if you watch the 'Save Blasieholmen' video in the AJ's 'King of Sweden brands...' piece - to wonder what's going on in Stockholm.
    This is a very prominent (in every sense of the word) site at the heart of the harbour that's done so much to mould the character of the centre of Stockholm.
    Clearly a plum location in the eyes of the Nobel people for their grand new headquarters, incorporating the large auditorium that - as David Chipperfield has explained - has had a big influence on sizing the building.
    But what on earth are they thinking of, if they believe that they're so important that they can just flatten the historic Tullhuset customs house as if it's just a comparatively small and unimportant building and can't be allowed to defy the mighty Nobel Foundation?
    Chipperfield has given them the architectural statement that they aspire to, but it clearly symbolises an arrogant desire for empire building, and - to be very blunt indeed - would be more at home in some authoritarian thug-state than in Sweden.
    If the accommodation is really necessary (and the video suggests pretty convincingly that it isn't) then the Nobel Foundation should decamp from central Stockholm to a surely easily found and far more appropriate site on the edge of the city, rather than continue to push for a giant 'cuckoo in the nest.' The King is right.

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  • The new political majority i Stockholm has decided to revoke their appeal. The verdict by the Land & Environment court will now win legal force. https://mitti.se/nyheter/flyttas-blagron-uppgorelse/

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