Travel Guide: Stockholm
Stockholm is most definitely changing. After some slow years in the architectural production business, suddenly the city seems to have woken up, addressing the demands of a rapidly increasing urban population. New housing blocks and facilities are popping up all over the city, both creating new residential areas and helping to densify the city centre. We have visited some of the most interesting and inspiring new city buildings, and even some that are still under construction. This is not to forget some of the old classic masterpieces of the pre-modern Nordic neoclassicism as well as the modern architecture of Asplund, Lewerentz, Celsing and Sven Markelius. Stockholm is not to be missed.
Also known as the “Nordic Venice”, the capital of Sweden continues to surprise visitors for its undeniable beauty, great architecture and intimate relationship with the open water. The city’s natural location rests upon fourteen granite islands, where Lake Mälaren and Stockholm’s sea archipelago meet, providing a never ending collection of spectacular panoramas across the city and surrounding waterways. The setting of the Old City Hall surrounded by the cold Baltic sea certainly congers images of the famous Italian city.
Visiting the old city center Gamla Stan, the fancy Östermalm neighbourhood or the always hectic Södermalm is deeply advised. Despite the granite bedrock upon which the city rests, as well as the ups and downs of Stockholm’s many hills, the city’s extensive metro system will transfer you efficiently between locations.
Karolinska Institute New Lecture Hall
Architect: Gert Wingårdh
Location: Solnavägen 1, Solna.
Surrounding the Karolinska Institute is the development of one of the biggest new city districts. It’s been baptized as Hagastaden and includes the gigantic New Karolinska University Hospital designed by White and Tengbom Architects as well as the yet completed twin towers Tors Torn by OMA. These two skyscrapers will become the third tallest buildings in Sweden.
For now, you might want to pass by the construction site to view the established New Academy House by Gert Wingårdh opening in late 2013. This iconic jewel formed in gold and black glass hosts the new lecture hall, classrooms and offices for the university community. It also hosts one of the most impressive over vert leaning facades in Europe.
Sven Harry’s Art Museum
Architect: Gert Wingårdh and Anna Höglund
Location: Eastmansvägen 12.
Located right in the middle of Vasaparken now exists a shiny museum designed by Gert Wingårdh with a minimalist brass facade. It was founded by Sven-Harry Karlsson to host his foundation and collection of art. It also contains shops, an art gallery, residential apartments and a restaurant facing the park.The top floors of the building hold a museum, copying the floor plan of an 18 -century manor house, Sven-Harry’s former home. There you will find his art collection, considered one of Sweden’s largest private collections of Nordic art.
Architect: Johan Celsing
Location: Torsgatan 19
Not far from Vasaparken, this art gallery occupies the entire ground floor of a glass facaded building designed by Johan Celsing Architects as an addition of the Bonnier Publishing House, one of the biggest media groups in Sweden. The Bonniers Konstall displays multiple exhibitions by both well-known International artists and Swedish artists in the beginning of their careers. You will also find a book and design shop and a café/restaurant.
Tellus Nursery School
Architect: Tham & Videgård Arkitekter
Location: Huvudfabriksgatan 18-20
Paletten is the Swedish name for this vivid yellow kindergarden. The facade panels are created with yellow sawn wood following the curved plan. Each classroom is painted in a different colour becoming visible at night through the windows. The building is located at the end of an old industrial/urban area and next to the Konstfack School of Art. The playground connects to a small urban green forest. This is one of the many fine architectural works that have been developed in this area of Telefonplan. From there, you might want to get yourself to the beautiful lakeshore area of Winterviken where you will find a café at the very same building where Nobel used to experiment and produce his famous dynamite.
Konstfack School of Art and Design Hall
Architect: Gert Wingårdh
Location: LM Ericssons väg 14
The former Ericsson telephone factory built in 1936 by architect Ture Wennerholm became in 2004 the new stage for the famous Konstfack art and design school. The building’s original white interior was redesigned by Gert Wingårdh, as well as the black building in front: the Design Hall. Telefonplan suddenly became one of the most attractive areas for younger people and it’s still growing in popularity. The Landet restaurant-bar across the street has become quite popular.
Ericsson Workers Housing
Architect: Backström & Reinius
Opposite the Konstfack, the functionalist modern housing of the former Ericsson workers is most definitely worth a stroll around. Designed by architects Backström and Reinius, (also the architects of one of the skyscrapers in the city centre) you can appreciate how precise every block is adapted to its specific location, even though at first glance they appear to look all the same.
Church in Årsta
Architect: Johan Celsing
Location: Bråviksvägen 47
On the top of a rocky hill, Johan Celsing designed Årsta church as an extension of a previous building from 1968. With sober lines and wise simplicity, this elegant church features the language of the best classic modern architecture and fits perfectly together with the existing building. Showcasing its concrete structure, the facade of red brick announces a very light interior space. Large high windows grasp the natural light from outside. The lower perimeter is clad in white glazed brick.
St Mark’s Basilica
Architect: Sigurd Lewerentz
Location: Malmövägen 51, Stockholm
This is a classic modern building of Sigurd Lewerentz, one of the most famous Swedish architects. This was one of his last works which pushed him towards international fame. It achieved the Sahlin Prize in 1962 for the best building in Sweden. Lewerentz was a perfectionist and had outstanding technical skills. He experimented and improvised with the old construction in brick at a time when everybody else was experimenting with prefabricated materials. Lewerentz took this work very seriously with uncountable visits that became part of the building’s legend.
Architect: Gunnar Asplund / Sigurd Lewerentz
Location: Sockenvägen 492
A must see project that is truly part of history in the urban and landscape architecture spheres. Asplund and Lewerentz teamed up to create this cemetery within the heart of a forest. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Different strategically located constructions and landmarks visually draw visitors through the beautiful forest lanes, revealing different parts of the cemetery with this technique. Simply brilliant.
Architects: White Arkitekter. Landscape: Gunilla Bandolin
This new city development was planned by a collaboration on architects including White Architects. Located by the water and next to a ski slope, this popular and convenient area has been growing since its birth in the 1990s. The landscape of wooden docks was designed by Gunilla Bandolin. Located southeast of Stockholm, in front Södermalm this area is accessible by ferry and tram.
Architect: Johan Nyrén
Location: Artipelagstigen 1, Gustavberg.
If you want to escape from the city to enjoy Stockholm’s nature, Artipelag Museum is the new place to visit. Surrounded by deep forests and the infinite islands of the archipielago, here you will find great international art exhibitions in a very special museum. This ambitious project was Johan Nyrén‘s very last building. The gigantic size of the building is perfectly disguised into it’s surroundings. Almost disappearing like a ghost, it embraces the rocks and the existing forest, preserving the site’s beauty.
Stockholm Public Library
Architect: Gunnar Asplund
Location: Sveavägen 73
The Stockholm Public Library is one of the most popular projects of Asplund, maybe the most famous Swedish architect ever. We couldn’t leave this project out and like the Pantheon in Rome; it’s always worth a return visit.
National Social Insurance Service Building
Architect: Sigurd Lewerentz
Location: Adolf Fredriks Kyrkogata 8
Just a few blocks away from Asplund’s Library you will find this state office building. Make sure to check out the round inner court yard, a pleasant surprise
Architect: White Arkitekter
Location: Nills Ericsons Plan 4
This gigantic congress hall was recently created by White Architects. The entire complex includes offices, a hotel tower and a spectacular lifted congress hall in one of the best locations of the city. Right between the central station and the beautiful Nordic neoclassic City Hall, and adjacent to the waterside, this building was built by the architect Ragnar Östberg in 1923.
Nordic Light Hotel
Location: Vasaplan 7, Stockholm
Scandinavian minimalism in central location.
Nordic Light Hotel in central Stockholm has reopened with a new concept that celebrates Nordic design. Architect Todd Saunders is in the lead of the new concept that is reflected all throughout the hotel’s interior, from the reception desk in Swedish marble, panelling in local ash and minimalistic, Scandinavian furniture.
Nordic Light Hotel’s homepage.
Location: Mariatorget 3, Stockholm
Stylish and perfect location
Perfectly located in the center of the city this hotel belongs to former ABBA-member Benny Andersson. Right beside you will find the Rival Theatre and the Rival Café: an artistic hangout in Mariatorget, the heart of Södermalm. By no coincidence all their ellegant rooms are fitted with the latest swedish musical productions.
Rival Hotel’s homepage.
Location: Ringvägen 98, Stockholm
Great views designed by White Architects
This hotel is located on the southern part of Södermalm, just one step away from the water. Make sure you enjoy the greatest views in this part of the city. The hotel is designed by White Architects, and you will find their splendid headquarters building on the other side of the street.
Clarion Hotel’s homepage.
Scandic Malmen Hotel
Location: Götgatan 49-51, Stockholm
Cheap and perfect location
This hotel is nothing special to speak of but is located in a great central area, perfect to call base camp from which to explore Stockholm’s architectural wonders. It’s cheap for Swedish prices too.
Scandic Malmen’s homepage.
Location: Riddargatan 6, Stockholm
Stylish and cool
This hip hotel has plenty of trendy décor and a lovely bar to keep you entertained between city outings. Another centrally located hotel that doesn’t leave you with empty pockets.
View what’s on offer at Story Hotel.
Location: Skoldungagatan 2 Stockholm
Ett Hem is a fantastically done boutique hotel. Originally a private home built in 1910, this home away from home is steeped in Scandinavian aesthetics of Carl Larsson and his wife Karin. A must stay for those looking for a more upmarket hotel.
Visit Ett Hem’s hompage to learn more.