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Credits: Manuelle Gautrand Architecture
Client: Areim Real Estate & SEB
Architect: MANUELLE GAUTRAND ARCHITECTURE, Paris – France/ in association with EQUATOR – Stockholm
Surface: 35.000 m²
Photographer: not yet commissioned
Facing one of Stockholm's large canals, the existing building on this site was designed in pure brutalist style in the 1970s by Swedish architects Tangbom and Salamon, as offices for a large company. The long vessel clad in dark brick and precast concrete comprises three volumes: a prow of high hexagonal volumes orientated north towards the canal, a long volume that links to the city’s historic neighbourhoods to the south, and finally a small pavilion at the south-east corner.
The objective was to add substantial value to this work of architectural heritage. For the city and for the project’s two developers, it was a question of reorganising, but also extending, opening up, elevating, and bringing this block to life to make it an innovative place to work for its users, an attractive place for the local community, and a new emblem for the city.
I was struck by the city’s skyline, a sculpture of roofs in a magnificent palette of colours. This great landscape of roofs inspired me, and in spite of the ‘brutalist’ beauty of the existing building, I found that its flat roof rang a false note within this rich silhouette. And so the idea came about to increase the height, thus creating the roof that had been missing.
The extension is made up of a series of diamond-shaped volumes, arranged next to one another in a great ascending movement that, from the south towards the north, rises higher and becomes more and more visible from afar. At the southern end, near the historic city, the raised height comprises two levels, whereas at the northern end opposite the canal there are four.
The diamond-shaped volumes are slightly folded in on themselves and positioned point-down on the existing roof. Consequently, between the original building and the elevated extension, a magnificent break-out space is formed, a belvedere garden looking out over the landscape. This creates a direct link between old and new, while also providing spectacular views over the city. Partially destined for use by the offices in the building, but also for a restaurant and for public events, this garden provides access to Stockholmers who can now admire their city.
Just as the project takes over the top of the building to bring it to life and give it a remarkable extension, so, at the lower levels it works to restore generous links with adjacent public spaces and the surrounding neighbourhood: the garden is open, a restaurant has been installed in the pavilion, and the basement transformed into a shopping mall full of natural light thanks to a light-well, which opens out into ground-floor gardens above.
Between these two upper and lower sections, which have been fundamentally restructured and extended, the existing volumes have been restored with respect for the spirit of the original building.
The building is expected to be delivered in 2020.