David Chipperfield and Christoph Felger, David Chipperfield Architects Berlin (Germany)
The Nobel Prize may be considered the most significant global prize for outstanding human achievements in science, literature and peacemaking in the world. Since 1901 when the first prizes were assigned the Nobel Prize has been associated with integrity, autonomy and freedom, fostering the ideals of a just and peaceful world reflecting the virtues and aspirations of Alfred Nobel as stated in his will from 1895.
We understand that the decision to build a Nobel Centre in Stockholm is both related to the desire to finally have an adequate home for the Nobel Prize, but also to create the opportunity to relate to the people in the world beyond the myth of the award itself. In our view the new Nobel Centre is not only a starting point to consolidate the admirable past in one place for the first time in the history of the Nobel Prize, but to use this consolidation to build a foundation from which to move on into a new era of openness and outreach. An era in which the achievements of the Nobel Prize and its ideals not only are preserved and made available to historians, but become an active and lively source of inspiration for generations to come, encouraging them to not give up the hope and the belief that human accomplishments can contribute to a better world. Therefore the task to develop an idea about what the new Nobel Centre in Stockholm should be about, is in some ways not merely an architectural and urbanistic one, but a visionary one moving the past into the future.
The decision to place the new Nobel Centre on Blasieholmen clearly reflects the desire to place the Nobel Foundation – as probably the most prominent Swedish institution – in visual and spatial relationship to other important national and local institutions in the centre of Stockholm. This will subsequently lead to new sociocultural correlations between the new and existing institutions and as such strengthen Blasieholmen as a unique destination for celebrating human endeavour and achievement.
Architectural considerations always form an integral part of urban considerations and vice versa. This is particularly true for this project with its most prominent setting in the centre of Stockholm. The exposed location on Blasieholmen next to the National Museum functions 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 interaction of both looking in and out and being part as well as not being part reflects the essence of science and literature as well as the Nobel idea and as such form a dialectic basis for our approach and thinking.
Our concept for the new Nobel Centre comprises four core ideas:
Nobel House – Nobelhuset The placement of a compact volume in the north-eastern area of the site as a solitary building – a strong and clear identity for the new Nobel Building against the backdrop of the city fabric and the National Museum.
Nobel Auditorium – The idea of an auditorium, reflecting its outstanding nature by the role it plays for the building, for Blasieholmen and for the city – being placed at the highest point of the new Nobel building overlooking the city with dramatic views.
Nobel Garden – The creation of a large open public garden in the southern area of the site – exploiting the openness of the site with regard to its visibility and course of the sun, connecting the eastern and western waterfronts of Blasieholmen and thereby giving the citizens of Stockholm a major new public realm to in return for the loss of the customs house.
Nobel Path – The introduction of a public path through the building leading towards the Nobel auditorium, connecting as well as organising all programmatic functions and thereby establishing what the Nobel House is about – a dynamic place of connectivity, encounter, exploration and representation.