A Room and a Half
Architect: Johan Celsing, Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor (Sweden)
The Nobel Center at Blasieholmen will inject a vigorous new institution and add considerably to the ambience of the area around Nationalmuseum.
This project will transform Blasieholmen into a new whole with two distinct public institutions (the other being Nationalmuseum) sited on either side of a refurbished and expanded urban pocket park. The quays on the west bank of this part of Blasieholmen will be upgraded and the public square south of the Nobel Center will enhance the public potential of the area. A new bridge will make Skeppsholmen more accessible and provide alternative routes for pedestrians to and from the island. The main entrance is located at a new wedge-shaped square by Hovslagargatan which opens up towards the waters of Nybroviken.
The building for the Nobel Center is conceived as a clearly defined volume where the careful composition of the facades and the varied treatments of its materials aim to fuse a contemporary vitality of activities and usage with intense but realistic craftsmanship. While the volume of the building is compact the inside is different with voids and slits in the slabs that open up between the floors. Connecting spaces vertically through openings in the floors creates an interior landscape that may arouse curiosity as well as introducing unexpected natural light.
The Auditorium is designed to be a light and truly inspiring meeting hall where daylight and views to the outdoors are combined with excellent visual and acoustic conditions. The curvature of the rows of seats give an atmosphere of proximity and togetherness for the audience and minimises the avarage distance from the audience to the speakers. The spatial quality of the hall is characterized by the ceiling in which oculi admit daylight. The oculi are of two sizes and have amphora-curved shafts that embellish the light and give a sculptural quality to the hall below. The hall may be divided into three segments, each one being equally daylit from the oculi. A conference centre adds to the Auditorium.
The Nobel Museum, Wide out-reach and easy access for visitors are decisive factors for the layout. The Temporary Exhibitions on the ground floor by the new square are the most accessible. Here in-door exhibitions may continue into open-air and vice-versa. The glazed hanging ”garage door” partitions facing the square signifies the robustness and low thresholds of the activities. The Permanent Exhibitions areas occupy the entire +11,0 level and is centered around the Large Hall of 35 x 48 meters. Around this hall are galleries that provide neutral access, recreation and orientation, along the facades in case the hall is sub-divided.
Restaurant, Bistro, Café are spread out on on different levels and in different corners of the Nobel Center. The restaurant has an exclusive location on the mezzanine floor over-looking Nybroviken. The Bistro has a more casual character on the corner by the boats whereas the small café which is located at the entry to the Library has a stepped seating for the guests as well as for seating during public readings and debates.
The Administration is on the top floor where the offices are over-looking the city in all directions.
The Lighthouse, On top of the building is the lighthouse in which technical installations linked to the operation of the building and its spaces are arranged in a pavillion which is a combination of a Winter Garden of plants and a showroom of technical installations that are usually concealed. Foremost the Lighthouse is where daylight is admitted into the Auditorium, one of the key spaces of the Nobel Center. As such it may be viewed as a beacon of the knowledge-oriented activities below it. The crenellated appearance of the Lighthouse will add a crowning volume to the compact figure of the Nobel Center and provide a memorable space for visitors to the Winter Garden and the roof terrace.
Exterior character, surfaces and materials. The facades of the Nobel Center will be light in hue, varying from a varm white of brick, via a crisper white concrete (white cement and Dolomite cross) to grey-blue Swedish marble. From a distance the building will offer a light appearance with a certain degree of abstraction. On a closer inspection the building will display a complex yet restrained orchestration of the chosen materials.
The environmental strategy and the engineering proposals has been developed using a holistic design approach. The proposed building is rational and applies clear structural engineering principles. Consistent and fitting column grids mean that good material efficiency is achieved. The building mass has been aligned in east to west orientation to maximise passive heating opportunities, maintaining a low compactness ratio to reduce heat losses and annual energy demand.
The auditorium is proposed to be naturally daylit and naturally ventilated during mild seasons. The system will switch to mechanical displacement ventilation during acoustically sensitive events, as well as during winter months and warm summer days. Strategically located oculi will be distributed across the auditorium ceiling to ensure an even and uniform distribution of diffuse daylight into the space.
Pictures: Copyright Nobelhuset AB