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Concrete Architect of the Year nominated

Museum of Wrecks architect Mats Fahlander has been nominated as Concrete Architect of the Year. For the first time ever, a redevelopment project is included in the selection of nominees for Concrete Architect of the Year. In an intelligent and beautiful way, Mats Fahlander has repurposed an existing concrete building on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm. Vrak - Museum of Wrecks is scheduled to open there soon.

Each year, three projects in concrete and the architects behind the projects are nominated for the award. This year, the new Museum of Wrecks and Mats Fahlander of Fahlander Arkitekter have been nominated.

Jury nomination

Given concrete’s resource- and energy-intensive manufacturing process, it admittedly doesn’t have the best reputation. This is why it is especially meaningful that the museum has been nominated as a sustainable redevelopment project. Rebuilding an existing concrete structure is in the spirit of our times – now and for the future. Here are some factors that convinced the jury:

  • The museum’s preservation and development of an existing building, a boat hangar. Båthall 2 in Galärvarvet (the “Galley Wharf”) was designed by Paul Hedqvist and built during World War II with a sturdy concrete frame.
  • The skilful treatment of Paul Hedqvist’s building and thus the preservation of a piece of Swedish modernism.
  • The new central staircase, with its generous roof light. The staircase creates a spatial order for the new museum. It shows excellent craftsmanship in in-situ cast concrete with three different surfaces: deep relief, smooth and polished. The new interventions are simple yet powerful, reflecting the spirit of the building.

A happy architect

“It’s fantastic that our work with the Museum Of Wrecks is getting noticed,” says Mats Fahlander. “Taking advantage of what concrete has to offer and building with it can be very sustainable. Paul Hedqvist’s building has been around for 80 years, and the building itself, the new staircase and the entire museum will last for at least another 80 years. So that’s being sustainable,” says the happy architect.

Sustainability along with aesthetic and historical values have all been key considerations from the outset of the project, with the result being a new national maritime archaeology museum.

“Starting with an existing building and preserving architectural values and details adds value,” says Odd Johansen, the museum’s project manager. “It can be challenging, but in a creative way. The history of the building can still reveal itself to visitors, back from when it was a building for housing the navy’s smaller boats,” he says.

The old boat hall is a government-listed historic building, so the architect and construction manager have taken great care with the exterior. For example, the old windows are still in place. Using the same careful approach, Fahlander Arkitekter has worked on the building’s interior. The interior contains the construction details, beams and lifting devices.

“We are inspired by the building and the original materials,” Fahlander says. “So we’ve only added sustainable materials like concrete, oak, steel, glass and terazzo, which also have associations with the sea, ships and the seafloor.”

“The fact that the government wants to make use of older buildings in combination with new ones benefits both the environment in general and the special environment at Djurgården,” he concludes.