The Nobel Prize for Planning Petitions – ‘We are opposed to star architects constructing their angular spectacles of glass and steel’

Building Design – All the press reports about England having the most ‘bogged down and protracted’ planning system in the world are wrong.  Protests and JRs in Sweden often mean that major projects can take decades.   Though David Chipperfield seems to be gaining a rep for insensitivity re Heritage Assets and Settings

The Nobel Foundation has insisted that a campaign to block David Chipperfield’s Nobel Centre will not succeed in moving it to another part of Stockholm.

The site, on a promontory in the heart of the Swedish capital, was donated by the city authorities which has been saving it for just such an international cultural project, a spokeswoman told BD.

Thousands of protestors have joined a Facebook group objecting to plans for a “monumental building” in a “fragile” part of the city.

And nearly 2,000 have signed a petition against the plans, with 400 adding their names in the week since Chipperfield was named winner of the international design competition.

It declares: “We are opposed to star architects constructing their angular spectacles of glass and steel right in the middle of the protected historic environment, as monuments to themselves, at our expense and the city’s.”

They are particularly upset that construction of the Nobel Centre will result in the relocation of ferries and the demolition of a number of historic harbourside buildings in the Blasieholmen area.

These include the Customs House, dating from 1876 and designed by Axel Fredrik Nystrom, architect of the capital’s Old National Archives and the Naval Academy. Stockholm’s last two surviving wooden harbour warehouses, dating from around 1910, are also due to go.

Caroline Silfverstolpehe of the Preserve Blasieholmen network, described Chipperfield’s design as a “giant colossus – a de facto convention centre on the mediaeval quayside pillaging everything in its path”.

In a fast-developing city, buildings that speak of its past are more important than ever, she said.

“[The Nobel] is obviously an important part of Sweden and its history that absolutely deserves to get a special place,” she wrote on the website Stockholm Skyline.

“But does it make sense that this is at the expense of other important values​​, such as the city’s cultural, historic buildings and shipping? The answer is no. Stockholm has room for both these buildings, shipping and a Nobel Museum…

“It is difficult to imagine a more vacuous locus for the solemn Nobel festivities than the one currently planned. It’s time to open both eyes.”

But Annika Pontikis of the Nobel Foundation said: “This is the site that has been given to the project by the city of Stockholm. The city has been saving it for a very long time for a cultural project with international outreach and they felt the Nobel Centre would be perfect.”

She said such campaigns were a typical part of the planning process in Stockholm. The public could have its say through a consultation process that has just begun.

“It’s a city where larger projects of this kind are met with all kinds of discussion and groups of this kind are quite normal,” she added. “We wouldn’t anticipate anything but a debate.”

Chipperfield, who was not available to comment, will now work on detailed plans with a view to submitting the project for planning in the autumn.

The architect was replaced on the redevelopment of the Geffrye Museum in east London after protestors objected to his plans to demolish a Victorian pub. But its plans for Elizabeth House were approved by a planning inspector despite complaints that it would damage views from the Westminster World Heritage Site.

2 thoughts on “The Nobel Prize for Planning Petitions – ‘We are opposed to star architects constructing their angular spectacles of glass and steel’

  1. Alfred Nobel came up with the idea of using his money for these annual prizes after his brother, Ludvig, died in 1888 and a French newspaper mistakenly thought it had been Alfred Nobel himself who died.  The newspaper published the obituary under the title: “The Merchant of Death is Dead”, going on to state: “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

    Between 1865-1921 dynamite was manufactured at the Nobel factory at Vinterviken in the outskirts of Stockholm.
    Working conditions were dangerous, and in the early years of development, there were many explosions and deaths. As a result of hosting almost a century of industry, Vinterviken is in fact, fraught with highly contaminated soil. This grim and violent past has left it’s mark. Nobel is most often remembered for creating a safer product, and celebrated for his contribution towards the peace and other prizes, but lying beneath the surface is another kind of legacy, This is toxic terrain. There are at least 10 different metals in the soils, among the highest concentrations are lead, copper, zinc and arsenic – some concentrations reaching over 28X the Swedish legal hazardous waste limits. The provincial government states that :“Vinterviken has
    been included on the list of the county’s 10 most polluted areas.

    see: http://www.diva-portal.se/smash/get/diva2:690964/FULLTEXT01.pdf
    Alfred Nobel also started weapon production at the Bofors factory after buying the factory and changing the production.

    Now the Nobel The Nobel Foundation plans to build an enormous Nobel Center in Stockholm. The whole site has to be excavated (with dynamite ?) down to 9 meters and large masses of clay and stone has to be transported through the fragile inner part of Stockholm.

    https://www.facebook.com/bevarablasieholmen

    http://www.archdaily.com/497459/chipperfield-s-stockholm-nobel-centre-faces-harsh-opposition/

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