A P(a)lace to enjoy
Architect: Gert Wingårdh, Wingårdh Arkitektkontor (Sweden)
The Nobel Prize is not just fame and fortune. It is also about self-sacrificing work, demanding tasks, and many hours of struggles with research, with words and with strives for humanity of mankind.
This is what this building will inform. It will be a home for glory, but most of all a venue that celebrates the open mind. The dynamics of the architecture, where the solid limestone plays with the openings – small and large – illustrates the dual character of the prize as well as of the dynamics of the urban setting of the building.
The solid stone express the firm foundation on which the prizes as well as the laureate’s achievements are grounded. It does also reflect the dignified environment and the immediate relation to the Nationalmuseum. The Center’s position in the urban grid attach to the long tail of relations to the Royal Palace. The ancient ambitions to create a solemn environment to the Palace are still most relevant.
The buildings facing the Palace do all relate to its architecture. So do the Nobel Center; in its orientation of course, but also in its palace-like disposition. The facades are equal, yet different. A contemporary technology in the use of stone on the outside and wood on the inside glued to superinsulation make the facades highly competent without comprising the qualities that only time can offer a building.
From the transparent and open base, to the protruding top floor, the building is in every aspect accessible. The juxtaposed layers invite interpretation and curiosity but rejects rigid pretentions. A p(a)lace to enjoy.
If the exterior expresses dual attitudes – both formal and informal – is the interior devoted to a profound openhearted atmosphere. A venue for temporary exhibitions on the ground floor highlights current activities in the building toward the city. It is an open building, where the restaurants and cafés of the ground floor embrace the street-like grid, easily accessible from multiple entrances. As each of them addresses different directions, they do serve different purposes.
The circulation in the building is formed around two large elevators. They bring large groups of visitors up to the exhibition floor, where they are greeted by the view over the square and the islands. The auditorium below is not only the dominating space, but also the most elaborated. This is also the site for the most spectacular window. Behind the scene, a glass structure will connect the audience with a view toward Strandvägen, lit by the setting sun.
The building will move existing qualities in the built environment and add new. The large Alfred Nobel square will be the most substantial added value. Its size, form, location and accessibility will make it noteworthy contribution to Stockholm’s relatively few open space in relation with water.
All pictures: Copyright Nobelhuset AB