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King of Sweden brands Chipperfield's Nobel Centre plans 'too big'

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King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden has laid into David Chipperfield’s plans for a new Nobel Centre in Stockholm

Chipperfield beat two Swedish practices - Wingårdhs arkitekter and Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor - to win the competition for 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.

But this week, in an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the king joined voices of protest who say the building is too big for the site.

He said: ’It does not have to be so gigantic, of this huge volume.

’Nobel is a name that we want to protect, of course. We want to preserve and increase its value. The purpose is laudable. [But] the fact that the building has become so big, and has landed a bit in the wrong place – it’s a shame.’

Speaking on Swedish radio last week, David Chipperfield said: ‘The size of the building is determined by what is necessary for a Nobel Centre. It’s not exploiting the value of the land or something – it’s not a developer building, an office building or a hotel. I disagree with the criticism, but I respect that it is part of the dialogue.’

Construction is due to start next year on the scheme which will replace an 1876 customs house by Axel Fredrik Nystrom and two wooden warehouses from 1910. The £100million project is due to open in 2019.

Last year, Stockholm’s City Museum wrote to the council urging them to throw out the plans, objecting to the demolition of three historical buildings on the site.

Sweden’s Liberal Party also weighed in, saying: ‘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’.

Nobel Centre, Stockholm

Nobel Centre, Stockholm

David Chipperfield Architects’ reworked - and smaller - proposals for the new Nobel Centre in Stockholm [September 2015]


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