Competition proposal, stage 2
Architect: David Chipperfield & Christoph Felger, David Chipperfield Architects Berlin
Architectural concept of the competition proposal
The Nobel Prize is probably known as the most significant global prize for outstanding human achievements in science, literature and peacemaking in the world. Since 1901 when the first prizes were assigned the Nobel Prize has ever since been associated with integrity, autonomy and freedom, fostering the ideals of a just and peaceful world still reflecting the virtues and aspirations of Alfred Nobel as stated in his will from 1895. The decision to build a Nobel Center in Stockholm is both related to the desire to finally have a home for the Nobel Prize, but also to create the opportunity to relate to the people in the world beyond the myth of the award itself. The new Nobel Center is not only a starting point to consolidate the admirable past in one place for the first time in the history of the Nobel Prize, but to use this consolidation to built a foundation from which to move on into a new era of openness and outreach, in which the achievements of the Nobel Prize and its ideals not only are preserved and made available to historians, but become an active and lively source of inspiration for generations to come, to not give up the hope and the believe that human accomplishments can contribute to a better world.
Architectural considerations always form part of urban considerations and vice versa. This is particularly true for this project with its most prominent setting in the centre of Stockholm. The exposed location on Blasieholmen next to the National Museum functions almost like a stage for the city, where manifold views to the city, but also manifold views from the city into the site are possible. The site is both part and not part of the city fabric. In a figurative sense this interrelation of both looking in and out or being part as well as not being part reflects notions of the essence of science and literature as well as the Nobel idea and as such form a dialectic basis for the approach of the conceptual development.
The concept for the new Nobel Center comprises four major ideas:
The placement of the new building as a freestanding ‘solitaire’ is fundamental to the urban and architectural considerations reflecting the notion of a ‘house’ as a civic building. In this way the identity of the new institution is established tying in harmoniously with the immediate urban context on Blasieholmen.
The conception of an auditorium, which receives its outstanding nature by the role it plays for the building, for Blasieholmen, the city and the world – being placed at the highest point of the new Nobel building. The entire Nobel auditorium becomes a ‘grand space’ with large panoramic windows allowing for maximum daylight as well as dramatic views over the city. In this way the auditorium as the new ‘Nobelsalen’ establishes a public presence crowning the building not merely by architectural form but by the experience of human interaction.
The creation of a large public garden in the southern area of the site – exploiting the openness of the site in relation to its visibility and the course of the sun connecting the eastern and western waterfronts of Blasieholmen and thereby giving a major new public realm to the citizens of Stockholm. A soft undulating tiering of the topography towards the quay following a more natural flow of form characterizes the new public Nobel Garden.
The introduction of a public path through the building starting from an open public ground floor and leading towards the Nobel Auditorium connecting as well as organising all programmatic functions and thereby establishing what the Nobel House is about – a dynamic place of encounter, exploration, representation and inspiration.
All images copyright to David Chipperfield Architects for Nobelhuset AB
High resolution images on request.