Architecture of Sweden

Swedish architecture describes the architecture of Sweden as a cultural phenomenon. The influences of Swedish architecture have been derived from different ways. During the 1600s and 1700s, influences came with most foreign architects. Later, Swedish architects have downloaded their inspiration from Europe and during the 20th century, even from the United States. Historically, foreign trends have therefore always come to Sweden and have adapted to Swedish taste and tradition. Then, neoclassicism became Swedish Gustavian style, empirically translated into Karl Johansstil, 1920s classicalism with Art Deco became Sweden in its own style Nordic classicism sometimes called Swedish grace or Swedish modern, and modernism, or functionalism to funkis.

As is the norm in architecture history, an architectural history of a nation naturally lends itself to a history of those monuments to the development of that nation and its institutions of power; palaces, castles, and churches. This also applies in the case of the history of architecture in Sweden being related here. The break comes with the modern era, with the change in the role of architects in society, towards a concern with questions concerning the entire population, such as housing and the infrastructure of a social democracy.

Buildings and monuments have been created in Sweden since the Stone Age. Of such old buildings, however, there is little left, the common houses and huts were built in wood and have not survived to our time. A reclaimed construction of the Bronze Age with distinctive design is the Kiviks grave. The longer you move forward in history, the more you can say about the architecture. From the late Iron Age – Revolution and Viking Age – you know more about how the houses looked. During this time many buildings were characterized by Nordic animal ornamentation.

Middle Ages
In Sweden, the Middle Ages lasted for approximately 500 years, from the baptism of Olof of Sweden in 1000 AD until Gustav I of Sweden seized power in 1523. At first almost all buildings, urban and rural, were constructed of timber. In the 12th century, stone became the predominant building material for the construction of Romanesque monasteries and churches. Notable examples are Lund Cathedral, Sigtuna monastery, Husaby Church and Alvastra monastery. The smaller Romanesque churches in the countryside were often fortified.

The advent of the Gothic style brought brick to Sweden as a new building material. The cathedrals of Västerås, Strängnäs and Uppsala were all constructed of brick, whereas the cathedrals of Skara and Linköping were made of limestone.

While about 1,500 of Sweden’s 4,000 churches date to the Middle Ages, very few secular buildings survive from this period. There are however a few Burgher’s houses in Stockholm and Visby, some castles, fortresses, and fortifications. The 13th century city walls around Visby are some of the best-preserved medieval city walls in Europe. The street layout of Stockholm’s Old City is still medieval. In other Swedish cities secular buildings from the Middle Ages are very rare and often heavily rebuilt during the following centuries. One example of that is Skytteanum in Uppsala.

The Renaissance
With the takeover of Gustav Vasa and the introduction of Lutheran Reform, the conditions changed drastically. They almost ended up constructing churches and buildings for aristocracy. At this time, however, one began to invent the magnificent vase slots; they were established at strategic positions to control the country and serve as places of residence for the royal court when it was traveling. Gripsholm Castle, Kalmar Castle and Vadstena Castle are impressive with its massive castle walls and its mixture of medieval elements with Renaissance architecture.

Baroque (about 1600 – 1715)
After Sweden became a great power in the 17th century, the aristocracy began new construction projects. At the same time, the concept of architect was established in Sweden and the profession developed. Its reputation was strengthened by Simon de la Vallées, the son of Jean de la Vallées and Nicodemus Tessin, the elder’s work. Several city palaces and farms were built according to Western and perhaps mainly French model. In addition, the construction of churches resumed. The Katarina church in Stockholm came to be a model for several buildings and churches in the Kingdom.

Nicodemus Tessin’s younger work brought the architectural movement forward to the high baroque in Sweden. Among the buildings from this period are Stockholm Castle and Kalmar Cathedral.

Many cities were also founded in the 17th century. Their street network followed the grid pattern from the continent of the 1620s with central square sites. The exception was Danish Skåne and the city of Gothenburg, which was planned according to Dutch model 1619, which also included channels. You can still see the plan structure yet, even though the original timber houses have now disappeared.

The conquest of the Danish landscape between 1645 and 1658 meant, for Sweden, extensive newbuilding activities in the newly-reclaimed landscapes. In particular, this Blekinge concerned the royal order of Karlskrona and Karlshamn. The cities were partly built because the navy came to have its most important base in Karlskrona when the city had a sheltered location and favorable harbor and partly because of the older Danish medieval cities like Kristianopel, Ronneby and Elleholmwould be competed by the new Swedish cities. The town planning came here to follow a classic grid ideally without regard to the most often hilly terrain, with a couple of paradigms and large squares where important public buildings were placed. Karlskrona came very fast to grow into one of Sweden’s largest cities until the end of the Great Reign. Örlogsstaden Karlskrona has since 1998 been listed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites as a unique example of a well-preserved fortified naval base and trading venue from this time. The building-memorial town hall in Narva was built in Sweden Estonia 1665-1671.

Classicism and empire style
In the second half of the 18th century, particularly after the coup of Gustav III a new direction was taken employing classical precedents. In 1773 the Building School of the Academy of Arts was founded, shortly afterwards the Office for Supervision of the Building Industry was instituted. Both raised the quality of architecture, but at the expense of local building traditions. Testimony to the new classical ideals in architecture can be found in the Palace Theatre in Gripsholm, the Botany building in Uppsala or the high school in Härnösand.

After the Napoleonic Wars and the loss of Finland, national building activity was concentrated within the military sector. The Karlsborg Fortress and the Göta Canal, employing 60,000 men in a 23-year period, were the largest Swedish building projects of all time. The leading architect of the first half of the 19th century was also a soldier, Colonel Fredrik Blom, he designed a series of barracks and also the classically styled Skeppholm Church in Stockholm and, as the house architect to the royal family, he built the Rosendal Palace.

Gustavian style (about 1772 – 1810)
During the second half of the 18th century, especially after Gustav III ‘s bargain, architectural style took a new turn by adopting classical role models. In 1773, the Royal Institute of Architecture was founded, and a building surveillance agency was established shortly thereafter. Both increased the quality of architecture, but at the expense of local building traditions. Works that testify to the new classical ideals in the architecture include the palace theater in Gripsholm, Botanicum in Uppsala and Härnösand University.

After the Napoleonic Wars and the loss of Finland, the national construction activity was concentrated on the military sector. Karlsborg Fortress and Göta Canal, which employed 60,000 during a 23-year period, were the largest Swedish construction projects throughout the ages. A leading architect in the first half of the 19th century was Fredrik Blom. He designed a series of removable houses, the classically designed Skeppsholm church in Stockholm and as royal chief architect even Rosendal’s castle.

In the second half of the 19th century the industrialisation of Sweden began. The population of the cities trebled in the space of a few decades. This rapid urbanisation lead to prolific construction activity:Tenement houses and public buildings such as schools, hospitals, prisons, hotels, banks, market halls, theatres and churches were built. An eclectic historicism distinguishes many of the buildings. The German Friedrich August Stüler received the prestige commission for the building of the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts, which he designed in a renaissance style. Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander’s Stockholm Synagogue is inspired by Assyrian architecture. His pupil Helgo Zettervall, followed in his footsteps with the comprehensive renovations to the cathedrals of Uppsala, Skara and Linköping which express his interpretation of the Gothic style. Johan Fredrik Åbom, the most prolific Swedish architect of his age, designed numerous churches and a series of Burgher houses in Neo-Renaissance style. The Berns Salonger with its restaurant and stages is also a notable expression of the new civic pride, as immortalised in August Strindberg’s novel The Red Room.

New Styles
By the middle of the 19th century empire became out of date and longed for the strictly restrained forms of a more decorated, exotic and historically romantic architecture. Already in the 17th century England, historical motives were reopened in the form of neo-Gothicism. Gotiken never really died in England, but now a more romanticized version spread. During the 19th century, neo-Gothicism was followed in parallel by almost all historical styles, where nyrokoko, novel and nybarock can be mentioned as the most common in Sweden.

Nygotics became a style-preserved church architecture, while the renaissance highlighted the towns in the form of facades in plaster and stuck inspired by Italian, German, French or Dutch renaissance. Even a kind of nybarock or “grand hotel style” is often mistakenly referred to as the novel fair but is actually taken from Napoleon III ‘s France where a strong baroque-influenced architecture was very popular, compared to Opera Garnier in so-called Beaux Arts architecture.

In the middle of the 1880s, discussions about the use of what was called “real material” argued, where critics believed that visible bricks and natural stones were common in the house phases (eg, Isak Gustaf Clason’s major breakthrough with the Bünsowska house on Strandvägen in Stockholm). The debate about the real materials had a clear impact throughout the country, but the use of gypsum ornamentation continued throughout the twentieth century.

Architect Carl Georg Brunius introduced Gothic and Romanesque influenced architecture already during the empire era in its rebuilding of churches. Johan Fredrik Åbom was another very early storyteller who, among other things, designed Bern’s Salons in Stockholm, a large number of residential buildings and the Södra Teatern. However, the two most significant new style architects in Sweden were undoubtedly Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander and Helgo Zettervall. As an architectural professor, Scholander trained a whole host of new style architects, including Zettervall, and among his works is the Synagogue in Stockholm and the attentive restoration of Kalmar Castle. Warodellska house, finished 1854 on Drottninggatan in Stockholm, is a very early example of the Italian novel fair.

Helgo Zettervall’s most famous works today are the major cathedral restorations in Lund and Uppsala, the latter being incorrectly used as a proof of the 19th century as a confused and ugly epoch with little understanding of authentic historical values. Other significant buildings of Zettervall are Bolinderska palace in Stockholm, Zettervallska villa, Lund University and the basics of the Reichstag house, which was preformed by Aron Johansson. In the countryside, Charles Emil Löfvenskiöld and Adolf Wilhelm Edelsvärds hadpattern designs for houses decorated with carpets of great importance and also held in different historical styles, of which some sort of Swiss style was the most widely used. The epoch of the new styles ended with architects such as Isak Gustaf Clason and Fredrik Liljekvist who, from the beginning, were historian converters gradually transcribed into drawing more national romantic or jugend inspired language.

Art Nouveau
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century a new generation of architects emerged who turned away from historicism and classicism. On the one hand they absorbed influences from abroad, e.g. the Jugendstil execution of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, on the other hand they looked for precedents in Swedish cultural history and Swedish building traditions. From this search they developed the National Romantic Style, which took the cultural and building precedents and merged them with ideas from the English Arts and Crafts Movement to create a very distinct Swedish architecture often in brick and wood. Carl Westman’s Swedish General Medical Association building in Stockholm was one of the first buildings built in the style, with the Röhss Museum in Gothenburg and Stockholm Court House providing two further examples. The crowning achievement of the National Romantic Style is however Stockholm City Hall, designed by Ragnar Östberg and built between 1903 and 1923.

Gustaf Wickman dedicated himself to a task of a different nature, he built the entire city of Kiruna within 3 decades in an uninhabited wilderness. Although the city of Kiruna caused many problems for the indigenous Sami people, disrupting reindeer herding routes and polluting the area. After a rich source of iron ore was found and a railway line built, Witman was charged with the design of the city. Within a few years he had completed the design and construction of the directors and engineers Villas, the worker’s housing, offices, schools, a hospital, a fire station, the post office and bank, and a swimming pool. Amongst his best work is the Kiruna Church designed in the National Romantic style. Its timber construction demonstrates and connects the influences of Norwegian Stave churches and American architectural traditions.

By the end of the 19th and early 1900s a new generation of Swedish architects emerged. They introduced the style known in Europe as Art Nouveau, but as in Sweden it is called Jugend. They distanced themselves from history and classicalism and gained inspiration from the natural softness of nature. A typical example is Kungsholmen Gymnasium in Stockholm. Arches, doors and windows now got a more friable form. The facades were covered with a smooth pastel-colored plaster and decorated, albeit sparingly, with ornaments in the same color as the rest of the building. The roof was saddle roof.

National romantic style
In the search for a national architecture, the national romance emerged with wood and brick buildings. Several buildings during this time were designed by Carl Westman, such as the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg and Stockholm City Hall. Sweden’s foremost example of national romance architecture is Stockholm City Hall by Ragnar Östberg, built between 1903 and 1923.

A special mission had Gustaf Wickman who created a whole new city – Kiruna. After finding a large amount of iron ore in the area, a railway line was built and with Wickman as the main architect, the city became clear after three years. Wickman’s main project was the church, a mix of American tree architecture, Norwegian stave church and Sami horned.

Nordic classicism
The modern architecture was initiated in Sweden by a group of young architects who started a school with a very rigorous and strong variant of neoclassicalism, Nordic classicalism, in foreign countries also known as Swedish grace. Gunnar Asplund was one of the most famous of this group. Among his most important works include Listers Häradsingshus in Sölvesborg, Stockholm City Library and, in collaboration with Sigurd Lewerentz, also the Forest Cemetery, today one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Modernism, Functionalism and Modern Styles
Modernism is a movement in architecture that emerged in the 1920s. This ideology was dominant in architecture and urban planning for most of the 20th century. The movement includes a variety of styles, including functionalism, brutalism and high tech architecture. Modernism is characterized by a stripped and geometrically simple architecture, free from ornaments, as it is the shapes and designs that represent architectural and artistic value.

The movement emerged in Europe in the aftermath of the First World War, when it was considered that a new style direction for the new world had to be built, which was combined with increased industrial construction. On the other hand, the modernist movement roots back, for example in the 19th century engineering architecture. The “new reality”, or functionalism, came to dominate the movement before World War II, and it was Germany’s Weimar Republic, which became the center of development, largely through the Bauhaus school in Dessau.

In Sweden, it went to the 30’s before the new style really looked. Its major breakthrough got modernism through the Stockholm exhibition in 1930 and the program Accept by Uno Åhren, which came the following year. The foreground figures were mainly Gunnar Asplund and Sven Markelius. The villa area Södra Ängby (1933-1939) in Bromma, Stockholm, is today considered one of Europe’s largest preserved functionalistic villas, and is protected by the Swedish National Heritage Board as a national interest.

In the following years functionalism became the dominant ideology, especially at home. A typical example of the strong link between functionalism and the political left is the Kvarnholmen Quarter in Nacka, designed in the 1930s by the KF Architectural Office, KFAI, founded in 1924 as the first collectively organized architectural office. In Sweden and England, for example, a kind of modernism had developed during the war, which, like the Danish “functional tradition”, developed traditional features and building materials from the region, such as saddle roofs and natural materials.

Modernism got its breakthrough and its ideological base in the 1930s, but it was not until after the end of World War II that the style of construction reached the great spread it has today. In many of the European countries it existed in parallel with classicalism and many [ who? ] considered that modernism was only a parenting in architecture history; the classic ideals would eventually return. Modernism, which, during the war, had been developed and used in the democratic states, on the other hand, symbolized democracy.

Brutalismen was a style of architecture, where architects like Sigurd Lewerentz with Markuskyrkan in Björkhagen and Peter Celsing with the Riksbank’s house at Brunkebergstorg in Stockholm are worth mentioning as well as the housing architecture Bengt Edmans Vildanden (1968) and Landsarkivet in Lund.

Urbanization and Million Program
The post-war period meant a very powerful urbanization trend in the country, with high inclination to the cities, which meant that housing shortages increased. At the same time, the increased living standard had brought about improved living conditions. This improvement in terms of actualization of the poor housing conditions generally prevailed in Sweden. Some newly built and attentive residential areas, such as Nobel Square in Malmö and Hammarby Heights in Stockholm. After World War IIbegan massive building projects to derive from the lack of housing and to improve the standard. The period meant for the European part meant strong growth in car ownership, which reinforced the already existing construction mode with functional-separated cities – ie cities where housing, traffic, work, leisure, etc. were spatially divided. During the period after World War II, districts such as Södra Guldheden, Kortedala and Vällingby were built.

1965 is held for the start year of the so-called million program, a term that refers to housing construction carried out in the period 1965-1975. The start year is based on a parliamentary decision to build a million homes to cope with the housing shortage that, despite all the reasons, did not matter – even though the decision did not mean any program in the real sense. During the ten year period, a million cottages and apartments were built ambitious and large construction projects planned and led by major architectural agencies, mostly in new neighborhoods. Although a majority of the homes built during the period were houses, the construction was carried out between 1965 and 1975, mainly with large multi-family houses in concrete, built in large-scale urban plans in areas characterized by social problems.

The need for new administrative premises for the authorities and the public led to the attention of some buildings, not least the Culture House (Used as Parliament House 1974-1986) and the Riksbank (1976) in Stockholm, designed by Peter Celsing, Stadshallen (1969) and Lund Konsthall (1958) by Klas Anshelm in Lund.

The early 1970s meant a turning point for housing production as well as for the construction as a whole. The question of the new architecture had been going on for some time; Starting with the so-called ” Skärholmendebatten” housing production had been highly criticized, and in very strong protests, hundreds of city centers had been demolished (for example, the Norrmalms regulation) since the early 1960s, largely as a result of car adaptation and parking planning.

The upswing that made it possible for the ambitious property performance that characterized the period since the end of the World War had also hit a drastic end in the 1973 oil crisis. At the same time it became clear that the ambitious housing construction gave results and that housing shortages were removed, which resulted in newly created apartments instead empty. From 1977 to 1989, the so-called ROT program was createdwhich aimed at modernizing older real estate environments that had often expired in anticipation of demolition but, as it was said, should be preserved. Although the aim was to be wary of the older environment and to employ construction workers, often there were many powerful interiors as well as exterior changes on the houses such as door and window changes to more modern cuts, many criticized for destroying the charm of some older houses.

Structuralism was a theoretical direction according to which buildings and society’s infrastructure should be regarded as structures in which the parts are important throughout the whole. The direction seemed a lot in controversy with formal late modernism, especially international style, which instead was based on clearly defined functions that could define the whole. Among the well-known structuralist projects in Sweden is the administration building Garrison (1965-71) at Östermalm and Arrhenius Laboratory (1968-73) at Stockholm University.

In the 1960s and 1970s modernism was criticized hard by the postmodernist movement, characterized by eclecticism, and contained some elements of more classical ideals, which were about to take over a larger part of the architecture scene. From the criticism of modernism, the concept of postmodernism grew in Sweden. This included a variety of trends. One began to put great emphasis on the design, something that had not been seen since the days of national romance. One of the most prominent figures in postmodernism in Sweden was Ralph Erskine [ source needed ]. Today, architecture in Sweden is defined by such architects as Gert Wingårdh, who began his career as a postmodernist but famous for adopting new styles (his work includes, among other things, ecological, minimalist, high-tech, expressionist and neo-functionalist styles).

1980s saw examples of several experimental styles. One went back to building closed quarters, which had hardly been done since the 1930s. The plans now often had the purpose of revitalizing urban areas and utilizing the surfaces in these as well as possible. In the City Terminal of Stockholm, a contract with the State Railways (SJ) was used for the first time, so-called air rights (see also three-dimensional real estate formation) and built offices and bus terminals above street doors. In Sundsvall four blocks of old harbor magazine were glazed and gained new uses. skyscraperswere again in fashion, and in several cities were built centrally located high-rise buildings, including in Västerås, Gothenburg, Malmö and Umeå. The uses were often hotel combined with one or another type of conference facility. Another notable example of ” multi-installations ” that existed at this time is Knutpunkten as extensive a railway station, ferry terminal, bus terminal, office space, restaurants, hotels and shops in central Helsingborg (1991). Many similar projects, however, never came from the drawing board due to the economic downturn that broke out in the early 1990s.

A structural change over time is that while in the 1950s there were only small-scale builders, the real estate industry changed to be dominated by large listed companies that produced buildings according to the current band principle. This leads to monotonous houses and reduced care about material choices and details. Architects believe that the liquefaction is a result of what builders order while builders refer in turn to political decisions to build large-scale to remedy housing shortages and at low cost so that young people can afford to move in.

Source from Wikipedia