A unanimous competition jury selected David Chipperfield’s and Christoph Felger’s slender brass shimmering building as the winner in the Nobel Center architectural competition in April 2014. The winning proposal served as the basis for a new local plan on which the City of Stockholm held two public consultations before approving it in April 2016. The building has been significantly reduced in height and length, but the original appearance of the building is maintained. Further programming and design developments are ongoing.
The building has an elegant, timeless and attractive external appearance, which can symbolise Nobel-related activities in a persuasive way. At the same time, it has a lightness and openness that are appealing. The building also features a good, clear floor structure that can allow future changes. The slim shape and moderate footprint of the building create good opportunities for pleasant outdoor settings on all sides of the building.
The new building has a clear division into a base, middle and top floor that relates to the surrounding structures on the Blasieholmen peninsula. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
One of the Nobel Center’s main entrances will be located along Hovslagargatan street, beneath an overhanging roof that marks the bottom part of the building. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
The beautiful site is located on the Blasieholmen peninsula, at Nybroviken, an inlet of the Baltic Sea in the heart of Stockholm.
David Chipperfield describes the exposed location next to the National Museum almost like a stage for the city, where manifold views to the city, but also manifold views from the city into the site are possible. The site is both part and not part of the city fabric. In a figurative sense this interrelation of both looking in and out or being part as well as not being part reflects notions of the essence of science and literature as well as the Nobel idea and as such form a dialectic basis for the approach of the conceptual development.
The architects’ concept for the new Nobel Center comprises four major ideas:
- Nobel House – The placement of the new building as a freestanding ‘solitaire’ is fundamental to the urban and architectural considerations reflecting the notion of a ‘house’ as a civic building. In this way the identity of the new institution is established tying in harmoniously with the immediate urban context on Blasieholmen.
- Nobel Auditorium – The auditorium is placed high up in the new building, with large panoramic windows allowing for dramatic views over the city. In this way the auditorium establishes a public presence crowning the building not merely by architectural form but by the experience of human interaction.
- Public place – The creation of a large public space, garden or park in the southern area of the site – exploiting the openness of the site in relation to its visibility and the course of the sun connecting the eastern and western waterfronts of Blasieholmen and thereby giving a major new public realm to the citizens of Stockholm.
- Nobel Path – The introduction of a public path through the building starting from an open public ground floor connecting as well as organising all programmatic functions and thereby establishing what the Nobel House is about – a dynamic place of encounter, exploration, representation and inspiration.
South of the Nobel Center, a new open public space is planned. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
The public nature of the building will be conveyed by its easily accessible entrance level. This level will be configured as an open square, with natural stone surface inspired by an outdoor plaza. Here visitors will be able to view temporary exhibitions and visit the museum shop and café. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
The café on the entrance level will face towards the open space to the south. During the summer it will be possible to open up the façade of the building. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
Four levels in the Nobel Center will house museum activities, including exhibitions about the Nobel Prize, the Laureates and Alfred Nobel. An educational programme will be a useful and attractive resource for teachers and will encourage pupils’ desire for involvement and faith in their ability to influence and personally contribute to change. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
A public route through the building provides access to – and circulation within – the various parts of the building. With its starting point on the open ground floor it leads up to the auditorium and the restaurant, bringing together the diverse activities of the Nobel Center. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
The auditorium is being designed to take advantage of breathtaking views of Stockholm. It will serve as a year-round venue for scientific seminars, cultural events, open lectures and debates featuring Nobel Laureates and other outstanding thinkers. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
One new feature of the recently refined architectural proposal is the public restaurant level now located on the top floor of the building, where visitors will be able to enjoy good food and incredible views of Stockholm. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects
The façade of thin vertical brass coloured fins placed in varied densities envelopes the building. Depending on the time of day or night, the light and what activities are taking place inside the building, the appearance of the façade may change and vary. Illustration: David Chipperfield Architects