After winning commission for the project in 2014, David Chipperfield and partner Christoph Felger’s Nobel Center (or Nobelhuset) has endured a turbulent journey. In September last year, Chipperfield had to curtail plans for the Center, located in Blasieholmen in the heart of Stockholm, after it had garnered fervent opposition.
It was reported that thousands had signed a petition stating that the building’s scale was inconsiderate given the historic site’s sensitivity. Caroline Silfverstolpehe of the Preserve Blasieholmen network, lamented the building, described it as a “giant colossus—a de facto convention centre on the mediaeval quayside pillaging everything in its path.”
Now, however, the project has finally been given the green light after the city council voted 54 to 43 in favor of the Chipperfield’s altered design. The vote, which Lars Heikensten, executive director of the Nobel Foundation, described as a “resounding yes,” came after planning approval was awarded last month.
Provided there are no further appeals lodged against the project, ground could break along the Blasieholmen waterfront by 2017. Construction is set to take up to two years being completed by 2019. The project when amended last year was due to open in 2018.
Located on the Blasieholmen peninsula on the edge of the Klara Sjö canal, the Nobel Center will host ceremonies for the natural science, humanities, and peace effort Nobel prizes as well as acting as a civic meeting place. In doing so it will be the first building ever to be dedicated to the event.
In a statement on the modified project, David Chipperfield Architects said in September that “the modified design integrates the nobel center even better in its urban context and establishes a lively interaction with the citizens and visitors of Stockholm.”
When AN first covered the story, the competition jury commented: “The proposed building conveys dignity and has an identity that feels well balanced for the Nobel Center. The limited footprint of the building allows room for a valuable park facing the eastern portions of the site, with plenty of space for a waterfront promenade along the quay. The facade surfaces will also reflect light from the sky down into the street or open space on Hovslagargatan.”
“I understand that it evokes much emotion—to build in the inner city is difficult. It is difficult for the simple reason that we love our city. But I think that this knowledge centre could be something we should be proud of,” said councillor Magnus Nilsson. “I am convinced that the building in itself and the activities that will take place there will be highly appreciated,” he added.