Stockholm – like much of Sweden – is a mixture of grand buildings reflecting the past and minimalistic architectural landmarks that perfectly reflect the city’s love of clean, modern lines. Here are the ones to check out on your visit.
Located in high-tech Kista, Victoria Tower is, at 117.6 meters high, one of the tallest buildings in Stockholm. It’s wrapped in an irregular arrangement of metal-coloured triangular glass panes, but what makes this tall tower really special is the top-heavy rectangle at the peak. The design won Wingårdh architects the top award at the World Architecture Festival in 2012.
Opened in 1989 after more than two years of building work, Globen (The Globe) is the world’s largest spherical building and is home to a diverse mix of retail space, restaurants, bars, and several arenas. Berg Arkitekkontor was behind the design, which has a diameter of 110 metres and an inner height of 85 metres. It also represents the sun in the Swedish Solar System, which is the world’s largest solar system scale model.
Located just a stone’s throw from Stockholm’s Central Station, Stockholm Waterfront raised – and continues to raise – eyebrows when it was unveiled in 2010. With moveable interiors and its distinctive metal spikes slicing through the Stockholm skyline, architects White Arkitekter took some big chances with the three buildings that make up the conference centre, which is revolutionary in its energy efficiency.
This small gem, designed by award-winning Marge Arkitekter, is the main terminal and information point for ferries heading out to the Stockholm archipelago. The design is simple: a cone framing different views over the water, with no front of back. The facade is cloaked in burnished brass allow while the interior is made of rough sawn oak. It’s minimalism at its finest.
Stockholm Public Library | Photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons
When it opened in 1928 it wasn’t quite complete, due to financial issues. But by 1932 this Gunnar Asplund masterpiece was complete and quickly became recognised for its stripping away of almost all architectural gee gaws, letting its geometrical basis tell the story. Inside, every bit of space is utilised for a specific purpose. It remains one of the most remarkable buildings in Stockholm and is also one of the first libraries in Sweden to allow open access to the books.
In harmony with nature | Photo courtesy of Artipelag
This space was the dream of Baby Björn’s founder, and is where architect Johan Nyrén managed to design a building that is in perfect harmony with its surroundings. Located just outside Stockholm proper, the building is located in the forest with a view over Baggen’s Bay. Nyrén’s vision was that as soon as you enter the building, you will be met by the four elements: fire in the fireplace, earth on which the building was built, clean air, and the water of the bay.
The Swedish Film Institute’s founder, Harry Schein, is said to have intoned that the Institute’s home would be ‘no ordinary bloody building’ – and architect Peter Celsing, who also designed Kulturhuset City Theatre and Riksbanken, Sweden’s national bank, certainly complied. The building is loved by some and reviled by others. Where one person might find its concrete bunker style wonderfully modern another might sneer that it’s brutalist. What is most interesting is that the interior is the complete opposite of the exterior, with an almost old-fashioned feel to the screening rooms, cafe, libraries, and other amenities.
Stockholm’s Flat Iron Building might not be as well-known as its New York counterpart, but it’s been attracting increasing attention since Roseberg Architects wedged it in between Torsgatan and Central Station. The gray concrete facade has been machined with a grid of lines and different tones, with the large windows completely flush with the concrete structure that holds them. It’s easy to pass by and not notice but if you look closely it’s a marvel of modern architecture.
Wingårdh Arkitekter is once again behind one of the more innovative new designs to grace Stockholm. This conference centre and lecture hall at Stockholm’s world-renowned Karolinska Institute was planned for more than 50 years; and when it finally came to fruition it perfectly married the need for a modern concert hall that sits comfortably on the Karolinska campus, which is a pretty cool mixture of new and old. The V-shaped auditorium dominates, while the urban facade beautifully reflects some of the more rustic buildings nearby.