October 18, 2013

Exploring Stockholm's Architecture!

Stockholm Public Library by Gunnar Asplund (photo by me!)
Stockholm has some amazing architecture... from Gothic to the ultra-modern and from the unknown to the world famous. The most common architecture themed questions I get from hotel guests usually pertain to the architect Gunnar Asplund and his well known work, especially the Stockholm Public Library and the Skogskyrkogården ("Woodland Cemetery") which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Woodland Cemetery (c) Susanne Hallmann, Kyrkogårdsförvaltningen Stockholms stad
If you are coming to Stockholm and happen to be an architecture buff... then I have some good tips for you. To start off with, make sure to visit the museum Arkitektur och Designcentrum (The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design)! Formerly known as Arkitekturmuseet, located on the island of Skeppsholmen just adjacent to the modern art museum Moderna, they have some interesting exhibitions... like the current Light Houses- Young Nordic Architecture. They also have some fun events, like their annual Ginger Bread House competition!
Karolinska new lecture hall. Photo: Pol Martin/arcspace
If you want to explore the city and see the architecture first hand, then there are some nifty new ways to do so. First off you have an online guide to Stockholm architecture provided by the wonderful people at arcspace. They have a fantastic architectural travel guide to Stockholm with great information of the best architectural designs in the city... including pictures, design information, addresses and more. The Rival Hotel is mentioned as well! It is completely free and you can either print out the guide ahead of time and take it with you or have it open on your smart phone or tablet computer while you wander through Stockholm.
Hammarbysjöstad Observatorium landscpe. Photo: Pol Martin/arcspace
Next up you have the app Arkitektur Nu (provided by the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design)  which you can download to your smart phone for free. This app uses GPS and needs no cellular or internet connection to use... so free to download and free to use! The app has an interactive map and features some of the most acclaimed projects of recent years. These two guides/apps are mainly concerned with more modern architecture... if you are interested in architecture of the histroric variety, check this website regarding architectural styles in Gamla Stan (old town). In this area of the city you will find everything from Late Renaissance to Baroque to Art Nouveau.
Some girder anchors on a building in Gamla Stan.
A bit of architectural trivia for you... when you are walking around Gamla Stan, admiring the buildings, keep an eye on the girder anchors (or anchor plates). These pieces of iron anchor the inside beams to the houses' exterior structure and come in different forms (everything from straight lines to curly q's). Each decade or time period has its own design... so the age of the building can be determined by the girder anchor on the outside. Click here for a guide for some of them.

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