Kiruna: The Latest Architecture and News
At this year's reSITE conference in Prague, speakers attended from around the globe to present differing perspectives on the challenges of migration, with topics of interest ranging from economics, to city planning to architecture. But as revealed by the following presentations, migration is a topic that requires interrogation on a number of different scales and in a number of different contexts: from the global economic focus offered by Saskia Sassen in her opening keynote lecture, to the focused challenges of designing micro-apartments shown by Mimi Hoang of nArchitects; and even to the unusual case presented by Krister Lindstedt of White Arkitekter, when a migration is undertaken not by individual people but by a whole town at once.
Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, made international headlines last year when it was announced that the entire town would be relocated two miles to the east due to mining operations by the state-controlled company. Now, the first phase of the Kiruna square redevelopment is set to commence with a design by Stockholm-based Kjellander + Sjöberg for an urban block of housing units around the town’s central square.
Kjellander + Sjöberg, along with development group Skanska, won a competition held by Kiruna Municipality for the square's regeneration. Under the moniker Fjällbäcken, the urban block responds to the idiosyncratic subarctic climate in a manner the architects describe as "sustainable in the long term." When realized, the 2000m2 housing development will have 90 apartments and feature a host of sustainable solutions. Onsite rainwater management facilities are incorporated into the project's planning, alongside provisions for green space and ecofriendly heating and cooling systems.
Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.
In the cities of the Arctic Circle, dramatic change is afoot. The region faces challenges most obviously from environmental change, but economic and cultural challenges also lie ahead, thanks to factors such as the decline of the mining and fishing industries that supported many of the Arctic's settlements, and the rapid modernization among Northern indigenous communities. In an interesting article for Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina takes a long look at the architects and urbanists who are making a difference in a context where "Architecture can’t really survive" - from the SALT Festival which celebrates the culture of the Arctic communities, to the plan to move the entire city of Kiruna two miles to the East, the article is a fascinating look at the extreme architecture of this hostile region. Read the article in full here.
Officials announced this week that, starting in June, the city of Kiruna, Sweden will begin to migrate. Founded in 1900, the town is the product of Sweden’s largest state-owned mining company, LKAB. The company extracts iron from the nearby Kirunavaara mountainside, and now the expansion of the mines threatens to destabilize the ground beneath 3,000 homes as well as many of the town’s municipal buildings.
The 100-year master plan put forth by White Arkitekter, in collaboration with Ghilardi + Hellsten Arkitetker, calls for the city to expand two miles eastward along a linear axis. This new plan will rebuild the town on solid ground, retain its historical and cultural presence, and slowly wean it off its dependency on the mining industry by opening the community up to new businesses.
For more than 100 years, residents of Kiruna have developed their city center around the world's largest iron mine, operated by the state-controlled company, Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB). In 2004, LKAB determined that to continue extracting iron would mean digging deeper, unsettling the ground beneath 3,000 homes as well as the city hall, train station, and century-old church.
Henning Larsen Architects has won a competition to design a new city hall for Kiruna in northern Sweden. The design, which has already been named Krystallen (The Crystal), is intended to "become the city's natural gathering point, where the traditions of democracy will be united with a vision about a dynamic meeting place for politics as well as social and cultural events". Comprising of two buildings, the outermost circular in form and the innermost "shaped like a crystal", the design has been "inspired by the enormous concentration of iron ore" that can be found beneath the site, the discovery of which led to the founding of Sweden's northernmost city.
White Architects has just been selected as the winner of the competition to relocate the City Center of Kiruna, located in the north of Sweden. Their proposal, titled “Kiruna 4-ever”, creates a sustainable vision for the long-term expansion of the city eastwards. It allows for the further development and broadening of Kiruna’s mix of cultures and diverse population by creating a welcoming and global city, unique in its placement within the arctic landscape. The proposal strives to create a destination of great dignity, attractive venues and fantastic living environments. More images and architects' description after the break.