Eight of Sweden's leading architects have created new visions for the future of Stockholm in Boxen at the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. Called Architecture Projects: Skeppsbron, the exhibition at ArkDes features visionary ideas for Skeppsbron in Gamla Stan. The exhibition celebrates the agency of the architect in thinking about the future city and aims to imagine new uses for Skeppsbron – one of the Swedish capital’s most symbolic inner-city sites.
Architecture Projects celebrates the architect’s ability to make proposals that help us to see the potential of cities in a new light. Through drawings, models, words and reference objects, the exhibition was designed to reveal the beauty, depth and imaginative capacity of Swedish architecture today. “As Stockholm’s oldest quay, Skeppsbron and Skeppsbrokajen has a unique history as the ‘storefront’ of Sweden: a hub for the import and export of goods, a marketplace, a thoroughfare, and a metaphorical bridge between the city and the rest of Europe. Between people, ideas and goods, this was Stockholm’s foremost site of exchange,” says James Taylor-Foster, curator of the exhibition. “In a wonderfully complex and historically-charged place, this collective effort from a group of world-class architects and practices—each bringing different approaches to and experience in the field to the table—celebrates the capacity of architecture as an imaginative force that can help us think radically and practically about the future city.”
Historically, Skeppsbron has been one of the city’s most vibrant commercial centres. It stands today as a defining image of the capital. At the same time, however, it is dominated by car parking and underused public space, and there is no clear vision for how this area could be used in the future. The exhibition aims to spark discussion about possible futures for Skeppsbron—and other sites like it—as an architectural, symbolic, public landscape. Each studio has made an immersive 1.8m x 1.8m drawing and model, as well as provided reference objects that start to express the activity of the architect and the approach that they’ve taken.
Taylor-Foster adds that, "The exhibition is testament to the creative force of the architect, presented through the most powerful tools at the architect’s disposal: 2D drawing, 3D modelling, and words – both written and spoken. Architecture Projects is an experimental project that uses these types of conventional architectural formats to frame free, speculative work as central to architectural practice. The architects and studios who have contributed their visions for their city have each taken unique approaches. At the same time, they all consider the value public space, the symbolic power of the urban environment, and—in the context of Stockholm—how inner-city bodies of water can function as sites for architectural intervention. All of this is backgrounded by the fact the lifeblood of a city is its continual renewal – the cycle of demolition, addition, and extension for which architecture is a central force."
Kieran Long, Director of ArkDes touched on the Centre's mission, saying that, “We want ArkDes to be a place that nurtures the artistic and cultural discourse of architecture, where we can rediscover the visionary creativity that exists in the field in Sweden. The drawings and models in this exhibition are monumental, and convince me that Swedish architectural culture has extraordinary depths. We are so happy to be working with eight extremely talented Stockholm-based architects on this project, and we look forward to future speculations in other cities across the country."
Curator: James Taylor-Foster (Curator, Contemporary Architecture and Design)
Project initiated by: Kieran Long (Director)
Exhibition Design: Erik Törnkvist, ETAT ARKITEKTER
Graphic Identity: Studio Reko